Our most-read: Steel and aluminum capture the spotlight

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised aluminum and steelworkers on Monday he would defend them against possible U.S. tariffs and called U.S. President Donald Trump to stress that "mutually beneficial" cross-border supply chains should be preserved.

"Additionally, although Canada and Mexico are now exempt from the tariff order, we are concerned that other trading partners will retaliate by imposing tariffs on USA exports and/or USA companies would experience limited access to other exports markets", Mr. Hanvey wrote. However, the key word is "temporary", particularly as NAFTA renegotiation efforts continue and the USA hopes to win concessions from its NAFTA peers.

The U.S. has said further delays might imperil the negotiations, with an outsider candidate leading polls for Mexico's July 1 election, and with Trump's party in danger of losing control of the U.S. Congress. "This episode has not changed our NAFTA negotiation position".

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said members of the Canadian steel industry can breath a sigh of relief, CNN reported.

"We are too. So we're glad to do it".

The proclamation instead pointed to economic integration between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, the fact the U.S. also exports steel to both Canada and Mexico, and the three countries' shared commitment to national security and addressing global excess capacity in steel production.

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Considering the fact that the majority of America's imports of steel come from Canada, the European Union, Mexico and South Korea, the new tariffs also seem likely to damage USA allies more than Trump's ultimate rival China.

However Trump specifically mentioned NAFTA in his press conference announcing the exemptions on March 8. The president made it clear, however, that if a deal is not reached, the tariffs would be imposed, "If we terminate NAFTA because they are unable to make a deal that is fair for our workers, fair for our farmers, and fair for our manufacturers, then we will terminate NAFTA and start all over again".

But both Mexico and Canada have rejected Trump's linkage of the levies to the ongoing Nafta talks. Both governments have voiced the need for a workable strategy.

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.

Freeland is headed to New York Monday to host an event on Canada's Elsie Initiative for Women in Peacekeeping, which aims to increase the number of women deployed as part of peacekeeping forces around the world. "One of the things we've done well is activate the lobbies in the United States - who are going to be impacted by these decisions-and get them to talk to the White House" explained former Quebec Premier Jean Charest.

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