"I have to think that the exclusion was probably also granted because we're going to be a little more accommodating to them at the (NAFTA) negotiating table", said Mark Warner, a Canadian trade lawyer.
Flake is now drafting legislation that would nullify the tariffs, worrying they will disrupt the economy.
However, he said "real friends" of the United States could win waivers from the measures, which come into force after 15 days.
"Congress can not be complicit as the administration courts economic disaster", the Arizona senator said. "I will immediately draft and introduce legislation to nullify these tariffs, and I urge my colleagues to pass it before this exercise in protectionism inflicts any more damage on the economy".
Flake said the new tariffs, which function as taxes on imports, of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum would be detrimental to the United States economy and must be stopped. And it has boosted our domestic economy by $127 billion annually with trade between the U.S., Mexico and Canada almost quadrupling. "It was a very good and productive discussion with the president".
Mnuchin: US in talks with countries seeking tariff exemptions
The McMinnville plant laid off 84 members past year because of steel getting dumped into California, according to Davis. He said only that the reprieve remains in place for now and that NAFTA is important to economic and national security.
Republicans do not like these tariffs. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) lamented Thursday. "It's something I'm very upset about".
"I generally support the president on just about everything, but I think he's been misled, there are some people down there who have been misleading him on some of these things", Hatch continued. While lawmakers technically could try to counter Trump on trade with some kind of legislative response, there is no clarity about what that would look like, and what kind of precedent it would set. Others have said Congress needs to claw back some of the constitutional authority on trade that they have willingly handed over to the executive branch over the years.
Brussels has reminded Trump that tit-for-tat trade measures deepened the Great Depression in the 1930s and in the 2000s cost thousands of U.S. jobs when Washington imposed tariffs on European steel.
And while there are limits to what they can do to stop it, members are contemplating measures that could block the president from fully implementing his proposal.
Canadian cabinet members also kept phone lines "humming" with their US counterparts in an all-out push that recalled a lobbying effort in April 2017 to persuade Trump not to withdraw from NAFTA but to pursue re-negotiations instead.