Foreign Affairs Minister applauds 'team Canada' effort following exemption from U.S. tariffs

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is applauding what she calls a ``team Canada'' effort, after the Trump administration announced that Canada will be exempt from new U-S tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Freeland thanked negotiators, premiers, business and labour leaders for their efforts in pressing the Canadian cause.

She also noted that negotiators will continue to work until the prospect of those duties is fully and permanently lifted.

Freeland says Canada planned to keep the tariffs issue separate from NAFTA negotiations, as it has done with disputes over softwood lumber, paper and Bombardier.

However, observers have speculated that President Trump may use the exemption as a weapon to try and force Canada and Mexico into a new trade deal favouring the U-S.

The heavy tariffs amount to 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum imports, and will hit almost every other country starting in 15 days.