Freeland is coming off a tense week which started with the seventh round of NAFTA negotiations making little progress towards an agreement but ended with a sigh of relief when Canada and Mexico secured an exemption from new US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he told U.S. President Donald Trump during a recent phone call that slapping duties on Canadian steel and aluminum would hurt ongoing NAFTA negotiations.
Lawrence Valley and the Great Lakes, to the ports of the east and west coasts and urban centres across the country, Canada's steel and aluminum industries provide thousands of Canadians with good, middle class jobs and play an important role in our economy.
But both Mexico and Canada have rejected Trump's linkage of the levies to the ongoing NAFTA talks.
Following the close of the seventh round of negotiations last week in Mexico, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the U.S. wants to get a deal done in the next four to six weeks.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada already has "significant barriers" to prevent low-priced steel and aluminum from being dumped in this country, and is prepared to work with Washington.
Trudeau said Canada had a lot more work to do and would press Washington to ensure the exemptions were permanent. "That is because the level of integration within our two markets is deep, complex and profitable to both of our countries". 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 US from Canada.
Mr. Trudeau also took Canada's case to US cable channels on Monday with appearances on MSNBC and CNN. The tour was planned before the tariff exemption was confirmed but will still go ahead despite the exemption, with stops in Alma., Que, Hamilton, Ont., Sault Ste. Marie and Regina this week. The steel tariff investigation was launched to see the impact of steel imports on USA national security. If there's a tariff on a piece of paper, turn it into a paper airplane and it's in a different category and no longer subject to a tariff.
It was the second call in a week that Trudeau made to Trump on the tariffs issue.
The Prime Minister told aluminum plant workers in Saguenay, Quebec, he will always have their backs when it comes to fighting USA tariffs.
The Canadian government has vowed to retaliate if duties are imposed, but the prime minister did not answer directly when asked what measures it might take.