May 17 (UPI) -- The United States agreed Friday to lift tariffs on steel and aluminum in Canada and Mexico in exchange for their pledges to stop Chinese steel from circumventing U.S. tax penalties by entering through their borders, President Donald Trump announced.
The tariffs, announced last year, will be lifted within 48 hours, Trump said during a speech before the National Association of Realtors in Washington, D.C. Global Affairs Canada confirmed the details.
The new agreement is expected to open the door for congressional approval for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement that's been proposed by the Trump administration for months.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump discussed the tariffs Friday and how to stop a flood of Chinese metals from flowing into the United States. The two nations imposed the tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum a year ago while negotiating a new trade deal to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The Canadian and Mexican governments, along with some U.S. lawmakers, have pressured the Trump administration to lift the tariffs to smooth out a new trilateral trade agreement.
Earlier Friday, Trump announced that tariffs on foreign automobiles and parts would be delayed by six months. That gives trade negotiators 180 days to work out a deal with Japan and the EU before resorting to tariffs, which would increase the cost of foreign-made cars and parts in the United States. U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer will lead the negotiations and report to Trump, the president said in a proclamation.
Lighthizer will "address the threatened impairment of the national security with respect to imported automobiles and certain automobile parts from the European Union, Japan and any other country the trade representative deems appropriate," Trump wrote.
Trump said the amount of auto parts imported into the United States "has displaced American-owned production" and represents a threat to national security. The imports constrict U.S. producers, he said, making it more difficult for them to fund research and develop new technologies.
The United States imported more than $191 billion worth of foreign automobiles in 2017 -- while European Union and Japanese barriers limit U.S. automobile imports into their countries, creating a trade imbalance.