Countries, companies race to make deal with Trump on tariffs

11 March, 2018, 01:47 | Author: Kim Reid
  • European Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom

Surrounded by applauding steel and aluminum workers, U.S. President Donald Trump holds up the "Section 232 Proclamations" on steel imports that he signed in the White House.

"It is certainly not the right way to include Europe. because we are friends, we are allies, we work together, we can not possibly be a threat to national security in the US US so we are counting on being excluded", the Swede added.

According to the talks, the US has proposed imposing a 25% tax on steel imports and 10% on aluminum imports.

"It's extremely regrettable and I'd like to work on the Americans to exempt us", Hiroshige Seko, Japan's minister of trade and industry, told a press conference.

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The United States opened the way for more exemptions from its steel and aluminum tariffs on Friday, after pressure from allies and intense lobbying from lawmakers, further diluting the measures just a day after they were formally announced.

Earlier, the EU's trade commissioner confirmed that the EU's counter-measures would include tariffs on US steel and agricultural products, as well as other products like bourbon, peanut butter, cranberries and orange juice.

The EU's trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom will meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Brussels on Saturday but the EU executive said the talks would not solve all the problems.

Europe's main steel federation said Trump's reasons for slapping tariffs on steel and aluminum are absurd and warned that the move could cost tens of thousands of jobs across the continent.

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The loss of exports to the US, combined with an expected massive import surge in the European Union, could cost tens of thousands of jobs in the European Union steel industry and related sectors. He also added Australia to the list of likely carve-outs.

Last year, China imported 3.2 million tons of US coal, worth about $420 million and almost five times the amount it took in 2016.

The EU exports around five billion euros' ($4 billion) worth of steel and a billion euros' worth of aluminum to the United States each year, and the European Commission, the bloc's executive arm, estimates Trump's tariffs could cost some 2.8 billion euros. China accounts for only a small fraction of USA steel imports, but its rapid rise to produce half the world's steel has helped create a global glut that has driven down prices. It was the most explicit threat yet from the country in the escalating trade row. The tariffs would "seriously impact the normal order of worldwide trade", the Ministry of Commerce said.

Within minutes of Trump's announcement, U.S. Republican Senator Jeff Flake, a critic of the president, said he would introduce a bill to nullify the tariffs. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said it was "past time to defend our interests, our security and our workers in the global economy".

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EUROFER chief Axel Eggert said "the national security justification the president has used - and the linking of these tariffs to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation funding - is an absurdity".



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