Canada, the top supplier of steel and aluminum to the U.S. market, and Mexico have been temporarily exempted from the tariffs until trilateral continental trade talks conclude.
She also says the tariff discussions and NAFTA negotiations are completely different, adding that, "We treat them on totally separate tracks".
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is heading to Canadian steel country this week on a three-day tour created to shore up the industry.
"The exemptions aren't a magical favour that was being done (for Canada)", Trudeau said.
"We know well that with this president there are moments of unpredictability and I think it's important to show that we are there to reassure the workers", Trudeau told public broadcaster Radio Canada on Monday. Trump did say he expected both Canada and Mexico to take action to prevent other countries from sneaking steel into the U.S.by sending them to Canada or Mexico first. Mexican federal elections scheduled for July 1 and USA congressional elections in the fall are adding pressure, as changes of government as a result of either could affect both getting a deal and getting it ratified.
"We recognize that the American side is eager to get forward motion on NAFTA", Trudeau told CNN's Anderson Cooper, in one of his USA interviews.
He made the point by mentioning in his CNBC interview that he was a few kilometres from the Bagotville air force base, built during the Second World War to protect critical aluminum supplies required by the military.
"I told the president that imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum does not help with regard to NAFTA..."
"Due to the unique nature of our relationship with Canada and Mexico, we're negotiating right now NAFTA, and we're going to hold off the tariff on those two countries to see whether or not we're able to make the deal on NAFTA", Trump said at the event announcing the tariffs.
Other stops will include Hamilton, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and Regina.
Her words echo those of Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo who said last week Mexico also believed the steel tariffs had nothing to do with the NAFTA talks.
Well before Trump's announcement last week, the White House had signaled that Mexico and Canada could be left off the list of countries targeted for punishment, and Mexican negotiators were already wary of the fine print.
Canada is the largest market for the United States, with 283 billion USA dollars worth of goods exported to Canada in 2017.
However, they expect any talks about a possible permanent exemption to take place outside of the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations.