The weekend before the announcement, Ottawa was getting word that Trump was heavily leaning toward including Canada, largely because of concerns steel from China was coming into the USA from Canada.
At talks in Brussels, economy ministers underlined that the European Union - the world's biggest trading bloc - supports free and open trade but that its 28 countries will respond if they are targeted by the USA tariffs, which are set to enter force next week.
The EU rejected Mr Trump's argument that the tariffs are required for national security reasons.
The steel tariff threat was seen by many to be an attempt by the Trump administration to pressure Canada and Mexico to complete the NAFTA talks - giving in to other USA demands or giving up some of their own -rather than risk the punishing steel and aluminum duties. Canada has said that tariffs would hurt both the United States and Canada.
The EU is seeking to be exempted from planned United States import duties of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium, but says Washington has not made clear how the exemption process works.More news: All the glamorous pics from inside Khloe Kardashian's pink baby shower
Freeland notes the written presidential proclamation putting them in place does not.
The federal government is examining new measures to stop China and other countries from dumping cheap steel and aluminum in Canada as a way to skirt recent hefty US tariffs.
"That was significant and we were glad to see that", she said.
Joseph Galimberti says Canada has to work very quickly to identify possible attempts to circumvent the US tariffs by sneaking steel in through Canada and must be prepared to act to stop this.
However Trump specifically mentioned NAFTA in his press conference announcing the exemptions on March 8.More news: 17 people including ten policemen killed in Takhar, Kabul
So steel-processing centres in Canada could import metal from China or India or other countries subject to the tariff and then sell it to an auto-parts maker or an energy company that turns it into something with a different tariff code. Indeed, most European Union countries are in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the world's biggest security alliance, together with the U.S. "It is bad for European citizens, for Dutch citizens and it will turn out bad for US citizens as well".
Following the close of the seventh round of negotiations last week in Mexico, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the U.S. wants to get a deal done in the next four to six weeks.
Phone conversations are continuing, but no new meeting was planned as of Monday. From there, she may travel to Washington, D.C.to continue NAFTA talks although her spokesman would only say her schedule is still being finalized.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is kicking off a tour of aluminum and steel factories today with a visit to Quebec's Saguenay region. Marie, Ont., and Regina, Sask.More news: Martin Shkreli sentenced to seven years in prison