October 26, 2018 / 2:06 PM / 23 days ago

Canada's U.S. envoy says tariffs dispute will be settled soon

FILE PHOTO - Rolls of steel are moved outside the ArcelorMittal Dofasco plant, an integrated steel producer, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, March 7, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Power

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s ambassador to Washington on Friday struck an optimistic tone over a dispute with the United States over steel and aluminum tariffs, saying he thought both sides would resolve their differences “sooner rather than later.”

David MacNaughton made his remarks to a business audience in the Ontario town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Canadian officials said earlier in the month they were downbeat about the chances of a quick solution.

The Trump administration imposed the tariffs on imports of the metals from Canada and Mexico in June, citing national security reasons. MacNaughton said it was clear the tariffs had been a tool to exert pressure during talks to update a continental trade deal, which concluded last month.

“Now that we’ve come to an agreement, there is no need for those tariffs to be in place ... I think that we will resolve this sooner rather than later,” MacNaughton said.

Canada and Mexico retaliated with their own tariffs on a wide range of U.S. goods.

The leaders of the three nations are due to sign the new United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement at a Group of 20 summit in Argentina that starts at the end of November.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Paul Simao

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