Trump tariffs: new duties on steel and aluminium anger U.S. allies

11 March, 2018, 01:58 | Author: Marjorie Miles
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Trump's official proclamations say that "any country with which we have a security relationship" is invited to discuss "alternative ways" to address the security risks of steel and aluminum imports, a process that could lead to other countries being excluded.

Donald Trump has delivered on his promise to increase import tariffs on steel and aluminium, raising the spectre of a full-blown trade war.

The tariffs will go into effect 15 days from Thursday and will retain flexibility for the president.

"Since 1998, countless steel mills and aluminum smelters have closed".

Confusion reigned in Washington overnight, with contradictory reports sparking a "will he or won't he" guessing game as Trump's leanings seemed to change by the hour.

Higher costs for imported steel and aluminum would be felt in states like Missouri, Louisiana, Connecticut and Maryland, where those products account for more than 5 percent of imports, according to the report.

Oddly, the primary victims of these tariffs, which are being imposed under a law that lets the president restrict trade to protect national security, will be American allies like the European Union and South Korea.

The senior administration official lambasted critics of the president's tariffs saying, "Nobody inside the beltway should express any sort of surprise".

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"If we don't make the deal on NAFTA and if we terminate NAFTA because they're unable to make a deal that's fair for our workers and fair for our farmers. and fair for our manufacturers, then we're going to terminate NAFTA and we'll start all over again or we'll just do it a different way", the president remarked.

People briefed on the plans ahead of the announcement said all countries affected by the tariffs would be invited to negotiate with the administration to be exempted from the tariffs if they can address the threat their exports pose to US manufacturers. "Should restrictions be imposed on Canadian steel and aluminum products, Canada will take responsive measures to defend its trade interests and workers".

Peter Navarro said relief from the roughly 25 per cent steel and 10 per cent aluminum tariff would be tied to how those countries respond at the NAFTA table.

The Treasury secretary said he has been speaking with his foreign counterparts and "my expectation is there may be some other countries that he considers in the next two weeks". The White House is expected to formally announce the measures later today.

The United States bought just 1.1% of China's steel exports a year ago compared with 12% for South Korea and 5% for Japan, according to the US International Trade Commission. "So they charge us 50, we would charge them 50", Trump added.

Beijing has said it was ready to retaliate in the event Chinese companies are hurt but Friday's statement gave no indication of official action. You don't have steel. "'We can also do stupid, ' Juncker said, speaking on German television".

Dr Fox said: "We understand the anxieties about steel over-production that the United States has but we believe there are other ways to tackle that on a multilateral basis".



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