Mexico City, Mexico — Mexico along with Canada and possibly other countries, could be exempt from import duties on steel and aluminum planned by the United States for reasons of national security, the White House said Wednesday.
“We expect the president to sign something before the end of the week and there are possible exclusions for Mexico and Canada for national security, and possibly other countries for the same,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the administration is drafting the official documentation for tariffs and that they could be announced as early as Thursday or Friday.
Mnuchin refused to discuss any specific country that may be exempt from tariffs on the basis of national security.
It is expected that on Thursday, no later than Friday, President Trump will enact the law that sets tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum.
Earlier, President Donald Trump’s chief of trade said the administration is willing to exempt other countries besides Mexico and Canada from the planned rates for aluminum and steel that have generated concern about the start of a trade war.
Ross cited a statement earlier in the week when Trump said he would be willing to exempt Mexico and Canada in exchange for cooperation in the Nafta renegotiations.
The Commerce Secretary said Trump would not have indicated his willingness to exempt Mexico and Canada in exchange for cooperation to update NAFTA if he wanted to “blow up the world.”
Ross spent the morning doing media rounds to counter the idea that the new tariffs would trigger a global trade battle.
“The president said that if we can fix something with Canada and Mexico they will be exempt. It is not inconceivable that others can be exempt on a similar basis,” Ross said.