(Adds details on tariff removal plans, Canadian source)
By David Lawder and David Ljunggren
WASHINGTON/OTTAWA, Sept 15 (Reuters) - The Trump administration said on Tuesday it will remove 10% U.S. tariffs on raw Canadian aluminum as long as imports of the metal stay below levels that are expected to "normalize" over the next four months.
In a statement, the U.S. Trade Representative's office said the decision came after consultations with the Canadian government determined that aluminum imports during the September-December period of 2020 were expected to fall 50% from the January-July period.
U.S. President Donald Trump had reimposed a 10% tariff on non-alloyed, unwrought aluminum from Canada in August after a surge in imports across the northern U.S. border.
USTR said that it now expected raw aluminum imports from Canada to be 70,000 to 83,000 tons per month through December. If it is determined that in any month, imports exceed 105% of those levels, USTR said it will retroactively impose the 10%tariffs on all shipments for that month.
A Canadian source directly familiar with the matter said that Ottawa would drop its threat to impose retaliatory sanctions against U.S. aluminum products after the USTR decision.
The source, who requested anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation, said Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland would give more details about Canada's response at a news conference scheduled for 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT) on Tuesday.
"This is a positive step that ensures the North American aluminum supply chain remains strong in the face of challenging global conditions," Rio Tinto Aluminum Chief Executive Alf Barrios said in a statement to Reuters. "Rio Tinto will continue to work closely with our U.S. customers to ensure a steady supply of high quality metal to meet their needs." (Reporting by David Lawder in Washington, David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Additional reporting by Jeff Lewis in Toronto and Tim Ahmann in Washington; Editing by Franklin Paul and Cynthia Osterman)