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Return of North American economy will negate need for tariffs, PM tells Trump

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets U.S. President Donald Trump at Winfield House in London on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says as the North American economy gets back up to speed, Canada’s aluminum production is returning to normal, undercutting the argument for American tariffs on imports from north of the border.

Trudeau says he made that point to U.S. President Donald Trump in a phone call earlier today.

At the height of the COVID-19 crisis, Canadian smelters adjusted their production when U.S. demand for value-added products dried up, triggering concerns about an increase in generic aluminum crossing south of the border.

But as the U.S. auto sector resumes production, Trudeau says aluminum makers in Canada will soon be back to producing the specialized products that are not manufactured by American smelters.

Trudeau also says bilateral discussions are continuing on the Canada-U.S. border, which remains closed to non-essential travel as the number of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. continues to rise.

He says the two countries will make an announcement before the current border agreement expires next week.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 13, 2020.

The Canadian Press