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Steel, Aluminum Rules Stall USMCA Trade Pact

Efforts to finalize local content rules for aluminum and steel are stalling attempts to finalize a new trade deal with Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

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Efforts to finalize local content requirements for aluminum and steel are stalling attempts to finalize a revised trade deal with Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

The pending U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement says that vehicles built in North America will qualify for duty-free status only if 70% of the steel and aluminum they use comes from local sources. But Bloomberg News says the U.S. added a demand last week that raw slabs of the metals, from which sheets are rolled, also must come from North American suppliers.

Bloomberg says the new requirement would disrupt production in Mexico, which sources much of its raw aluminum and steel from Argentina and Brazil. Earlier this week President Donald Trump threatened to impose import quotas on the two metals from those nations after accusing them of harming American farmers by devaluing their currencies.

Canada and Mexico are pushing to ratify the USMCA before Congress becomes distracted by the 2020 presidential campaigns. In the U.S., Democrats say they won’t vote to approve the pact until measures to enforce it are strengthened.

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