Canada's standoff with U.S. over metals tariffs finally over

Canada's year-long standoff with the Trump administration over punitive U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs is finally over, sources say, removing a key hurdle in efforts to ratify the new North American trade pact.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is making an unscheduled, last-minute trip to Hamilton, Canada's steel-manufacturing capital, where he's expected to confirm the breakthrough.

Word of the agreement began to trickle out amid reports that U.S. negotiators had backed off long-standing demands for a hard limit on imports of Canadian steel and aluminum, part of an effort to keep cheap Chinese product out of the country.

Trudeau and President Donald Trump spoke by phone today to discuss the tariff dispute, their third such conversation in less than a week.

One year ago, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the tariffs, 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum from both Canada and Mexico, were necessary to prevent a flood of Chinese steel into the U.S. through its NAFTA partner countries.

Ross also admitted the tariffs were part of the U.S. negotiating strategy, even though they were imposed under a section of American trade law that gives the president that authority to implement such measures to protect national security.