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Trump sets meeting on steel, aluminum, as market watches for tariff exemptions for Canada and Mexico

Trump sets meeting on steel, aluminum, as market watches for tariff exemptions for Canada and Mexico

President Donald Trump said Thursday morning there will be a meeting at the White House regarding the U.S. steel and aluminum industries.

The announcement, which came in a tweet, comes as markets watch for more concrete signs that Mexico and Canada would be exempted from the aluminum and steel tariffs Trump unveiled in a surprise announcement a week ago.

Trump is considering a 30-day exemption for Canada and Mexico, which would be tied to negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement, two sources familiar with the planning told CNBC. The president has repeatedly threatened to pull out of the 1994 pact if negotiators do not figure out a way to overhaul it.

Thursday morning, Trump tweeted: “Looking forward to 3:30 P.M. meeting today at the White House. We have to protect & build our Steel and Aluminum Industries while at the same time showing great flexibility and cooperation toward those that are real friends and treat us fairly on both trade and the military.”

The tweet appears to be signalling that an announcement regarding proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports would be coming. Meanwhile, NBC News, citing a White House official, reported that the details are still being worked out – and that the president could sign a largely “symbolic” proclamation.

Upon Trump’s announcement last week, investors and lawmakers feared that the tariffs could be a catalyst for a trade war.

Those fears were eased somewhat after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday that Canada and Mexico — two key U.S. trade partners — could be exempt from the tariffs.

Trump is expected to formally sign off on the tariffs Thursday or Friday, although some reports said the announcement could have been delayed until next week.

CNBC’s Kayla Tausche contributed to this report.

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