Trump extends exemptions on steel, aluminum tariffs

Posted May 01, 2018

Trump ordered the tariffs on March 22, citing a threat to national security, making plain that he meant to use the duties, or threat of them, as leverage to win concessions from American trading partners. However, the European Union, along with Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and South Korea were given a temporary reprieve.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom was due to speak with Ross on Monday in a last-ditch pitch for the 28 EU member countries.

Asked about concerns over possible retaliatory measures by China, Mnuchin said: "It's not a worry of mine", adding that Trump was focused on "free and fair and reciprocal trade".

"There is no justification whatsoever for tariffs or quotas on Canadian steel and aluminum as a national security consideration", Canadian Foreign Minster Chrystia Freeland said Friday.

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"The administration has reached agreements in principle with Argentina, Australia, and Brazil, details of which will be finalized in the next 30 days". If the WTO supports Washington's action then it could tempt more countries to bypass trade norms, citing security risks.

A spokesperson for the British government added that leaders in the European Union are discussing "the vital importance of our steel and aluminium industries and their concern about the impact of U.S. tariffs" and they have "pledged to continue to work closely with the rest of the European Union and the United States administration with the aim of a permanent exemption from USA tariffs".

Japan never got a break from the tariffs, so Japanese exporters have been subject to the levies since late March.

President Donald Trump has until midnight to extend steel and aluminum tariff exemptions that were handed out to several United States allies. Potential targets include Harley Davidson motorcycles, from the home state of House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Kentucky bourbon, which could get the attention of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

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The cut ends of steel rebars.

In a separate trade battle with China, the United States has threatened to impose tariffs on $150 billion of Chinese goods in retaliation for what it argues are Beijing's unfair trade practices and its requirement that US companies turn over technology in exchange for access to its market.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Bloomberg that the White House will continue to grant some countries relief from the metal tariffs, but wouldn't name any nations. Before the tariffs were introduced, French President Emmanuel Macron said that the bloc "won't talk about anything while there's a gun pointed at our head". The chancellor's statement did not outline specific steps the 28-nation European Union might take.

"We have been discussing this with the USA administration and letting them know it would be a very bad idea to disrupt (the) very complex trade between Canada and the United States when it comes to steel and aluminum", said Trudeau. Security relationships with the USA have also been part of the criteria.

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