Prime minister wraps up tour of Hamilton steel plants amid tariff threat


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau admits he still has some questions about what proposed U.S. tariffs on our steel and aluminum exports could have on Canadian companies.

Canada has vowed to retaliate if duties are imposed but Trudeau did not answer directly when asked what measures it might take.

"We made the. true point that the integration of our steel and aluminum market is so intense across the Canada-U.S. border that millions of jobs on both sides of the border depend on continued smooth flow of trade", he said.

China on Tuesday dismissed Canadian accusations that it was flooding global markets with cheap steel, saying overcapacity in the industry was an worldwide problem.

"We are ready to take action whenever action is required. we had your backs last week and we always will", Trudeau said after visiting a Rio Tinto Ltd (RIO.AX) (RIO.L) smelter in Alma, Quebec, his first stop on a tour this week of Canada's steel and aluminum regions. The weekend before the announcement, Ottawa was getting word that Trump was heavily leaning toward including Canada, largely because of concerns steel from China was coming into the USA from Canada.

Trudeau said Canada had a lot more work to do and would press Washington to ensure the exemptions were permanent.

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"National security issues do not apply - could not apply to Canada - when we have our aluminum in their fighter jets, our steel that goes into their armoured vehicles", Trudeau said.

Asked whether he trusted the president, Trudeau said Trump has always kept his word to him and has been consistent in doing what he said he would do.

On Tuesday morning, he toured a Stelco plant in Hamilton, where he chatted with workers and stressed the importance of the industry to them.

Trudeau pledges to keep the pressure on U.S. President Donald Trump during NAFTA renegotiations and to ensure a good deal for Canada.

He asked after their families and how they had been coping with the possibility of USA tariffs that he had repeatedly said would have a devastating impact in Canada. Following the roundtable, Trudeau headed to a second plant, this time Dofasco, for another tour.