Canada's PM: U.S. tariffs on steel, aluminum a 'very bad idea'

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada April 30, 2018. REUTERS/Ben Nelms

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday said any move by the United States to impose tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum would be a “very bad idea” guaranteed to disrupt trade between the two nations.

Trudeau told reporters in Vancouver he was confident the administration of President Donald Trump understood that such tariffs would hurt jobs in the United States as well as Canada.

Trump imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum in March but granted temporary exemptions to Canada and Mexico that run out on May 1. Canada is the biggest supplier of steel and aluminum to the United States.

“We have been discussing this with the U.S. administration and letting them know it would be a very bad idea to disrupt (the) very complex trade between Canada and the United States when it comes to steel and aluminum,” said Trudeau.

Trump has said the tariffs on Canada and Mexico could be suspended if enough progress is made at negotiations to update the trilateral North American Free Trade Agreement. Top-level talks are due to resume on May 7.

“We’ve made significant progress over the past weeks and we continue to work hard ... there is positive momentum but as we all know, it won’t be done until it’s done,” said Trudeau.

Reporting by Julie Gordon, writing by David Ljunggren; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama