Trump to extend steel, aluminum tariff relief to some allies — but not all

Trump to extend steel, aluminum tariff relief to some allies — but not all
The Trump administration plans to extend relief from steel and aluminum tariffs to some countries, but not all, when their temporary exemptions expire on Tuesday, said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Ross, in an interview in Washington late Saturday, declined to identify which nations would be spared from the tariffs. He said the announcement will be made right before the May 1 deadline for the duties to kick in. The secretary indicated on Friday that nations have been asked to accept import quotas in return for tariff-free access of the metals into the U.S.

The steel and aluminum tariffs are fuelling tensions with some of America’s strongest allies, just as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin leads a delegation this week to China for talks on what the U.S. sees as Beijing’s unfair trading practices. Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on as much as US$150 billion of Chinese goods if negotiations fail to yield progress, a move China that has said would provoke retaliation against key American imports.

The European Union last week asked to join a case, starting with consultations, that was initiated by China at the World Trade Organization over the U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs.

President Donald Trump used his broad powers under a little-used trade law to impose the 25 per cent tariffs on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum after a study by his administration found the imports threaten national security.

But Trump walked back from an earlier no-exemptions stance to give Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, the European Union, Mexico and South Korea a temporary reprieve when the tariffs took effect in March, and directed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to handle negotiations with countries seeking exemptions.

So far, South Korea is the only nation to be spared from the duties after reaching a deal to revise its bilateral free trade agreement with the U.S., which was already under way.

To avoid the steel tariff, South Korea agreed to limit U.S. shipments of the metal to about 2.7 million tons a year, the ministry said. The country also agreed to double to 50,000 the number of U.S. cars that could be imported without meeting local safety standards.

The European Union has been among the most vocal critics of the tariffs, saying that it doesn’t make sense for the U.S. to target steel and aluminum shipments of its defense partners in the name of national security risk. The EU has also said it’s prepared to apply retaliatory tariffs on US$3.5 billion of imports from the U.S., ranging from orange juice to blue jeans.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May discussed the “impact” of the U.S. tariffs and the “vital importance” of each country’s steel and aluminum industries with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel during separate phone calls this weekend.

The leaders agreed to work with the rest of the European Union and the Trump administration to secure permanent exemptions, according to the a readout from May’s office.

Macron and Merkel visited Washington separately last week, appealing directly to Trump for exemptions for the EU bloc, but failed to win any public guarantees.

Canada and Mexico, meanwhile, have rejected Trump’s suggestion of linking the discussions over metals tariffs to securing the U.S. better terms in a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement. All three nations are expected to resume talks over updating NAFTA on May 7, after Lighthizer returns from the trip to China with Mnuchin.

Plus, NAFTA deal or no deal, a realtor takes readers’ questions and is the worst over for Bombardier?

The ability of Canadians to shoulder an ever increasing mountain of debt is about to be tested

A detached house in Whistler costs $1.67 million, 4% more than in Vancouver, and businesses are buying properties to house employees as living costs drive out workers

LOS ANGELES -- Get ready for a little bit more pain at the pump this summer. Crude oil prices are at the highest level in more than three years and ...
Read more on National Post
News Topics :
Similar Articles :
WASHINGTON Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday that the U.S. is making progress on lifting tariffs imposed on steel and aluminum from Canada and Mexico, potentially overcoming a key...
WASHINGTON When U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross held up a can of Campbell s soup in a CNBC interview to make the case that the Trump administration s steel...
The U.S. will shield a list of allies including Europe, Australia, South Korea, Argentina and Brazil from steel and aluminum tariffs that take effect on Friday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert...
Several top U.S. steel and aluminum executives have been invited to the White House on Thursday for what could be a major trade announcement, according to two people familiar with...
U.S. President Donald Trump shows his signature on Section 232 Proclamations on Steel and Aluminum Imports in the Oval Office of the White House on March 8, 2018. After a...