End of U.S. tariffs on Canadian, Mexican steel and aluminum close: Mnuchin

A top Trump administration cabinet member says the end of punishing steel and aluminium tariffs on Canada and Mexico is close at hand.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the U.S. is close to an ``understanding'' with its two North American neighbours about finally lifting the 25-per-cent duty on steel and 10-per-cent levy on aluminum imports from their two countries.

Mnuchin says lifting the tariffs is an important part of getting the newly negotiated North American free-trade deal ratified in all three countries, and he says President Donald Trump has issued instructions to resolve the impasse.

Mnuchin was testifying at the U.S. Senate appropriations subcommittee as Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland heads to Washington to meet Trump trade czar Robert Lighthizer in a renewed push to get the punitive tariffs lifted.

Freeland will also go to Capitol Hill for a meeting with the influential Republican chair of the Senate finance committee, Chuck Grassley, who expressed optimism earlier this week that the tariffs might soon be lifted.

Mnuchin says he has also spoken to Finance Minister Bill Morneau and their Mexican counterpart about the tariffs, but that Lighthizer is actively leading discussions on them.