Trump's steel, aluminum tariffs exempt Canada, Mexico

10 March, 2018, 02:00 | Author: Jared Lewis
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The European Union (EU) is said to be planning retribution in a big way, by inflicting 25 per cent tariff on the US' steel, aluminium and agriculture imports, bourbon and motorcycles.

Philip Levy, a former trade adviser in President George W. Bush's administration, said the flaw in Trump basing his tariffs on national security was that military allies could ask to be excluded, undermining the president's stated objective of protecting domestic steel and aluminum mill jobs.

"We want our workers to be protected and we want frankly our companies to be protected", said Trump.

He suggested Australia and "other countries" might also be spared, a shift that could soften the global blow amid threats of retaliation by trading partners.

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As well, only about $500 million of Australian steel and aluminium goes into the USA each year (out of $22 billion of steel imported by the US) and all of it supports American manufacturing jobs.

The new tariffs - 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum - will take effect in 15 days.

"We are focusing very much on gaining an exemption and that is what all our efforts have been directed to from the Prime Minister to the Trade Minister, all our officials, all our diplomats and that is what I have been doing here in NY". "Canada and Mexico, that trade has been seamless with the USA for quite some time". Economists, however, have said that USA steelmakers, for example, produce more than what's needed for the Defense Department and its various military programs.

The fight over tariffs comes amid intense turmoil in the West Wing, which has seen waves of departures and negative news stories that have left Trump increasingly isolated in the Oval Office, according to two senior officials speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal discussions.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan released a statement Thursday saying he opposes the tariffs but is relieved that Trump exempted Canada and Mexico.

But then he says that Canada and Mexico will be exempt if they cave in on NAFTA, and Australia might be exempt because we have a trade surplus with them. They aim to hit China, although it exports very little of either metal to the United States. He also said that the United States is open to modifying tariffs on individual countries, depending on how they treat the US.

"I think the benefit [of the tariffs] is significant", he said. "We're not trying to blow up the world".

Trump's action is drawing criticism from inside and outside the US. Temporarily exempted are close trading partners Canada and Mexico, who together supply almost one-quarter of steel imported into the U.S. Canada is the biggest supplier of both imported steel and imported aluminum to the U.S. "Launching an all-out trade war will alienate the allies we need to actually solve the problem of steel dumping, and could have huge unintended consequences for American manufacturers who depend on imported materials".

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