Trump Signs Steel And Aluminum Tariffs Into Law - Excludes Canada And Mexico

11 March, 2018, 03:01 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • Trump plans to announce steel tariffs but may allow exemptions for U.S allies after all

The president's move to impose punitive tariffs is meant to fulfil a campaign promise to protect the USA steel industry and bring back jobs to numerous blighted Rust Belt communities in swing states that helped elect him in 2016.

"We have to protect & build our Steel and Aluminum Industries while at the same time showing great flexibility and cooperation toward those that are real friends and treat us fairly on both trade and the military", the president tweeted - saying he was "looking forward" to the 3:30pm White House meeting.

"A strong steel and aluminum industry are vital to our national security, absolutely vital", he said.

Reaction in Maryland, where manufacturers rely heavily on steel imports according to a recent study, was largely negative.

Railroad tracks run past the blast furnaces of the now-closed Bethlehem Steel mill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, April 21, 2016. The president said he would exempt Canada and Mexico while negotiating for changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Quebec business groups are sounding the alarm that Canada's temporary exemption from tariffs for its aluminum and steel exports to the United States isn't enough to ease their concerns caused by the climate of uncertainty.

The U.S. Commerce Department is due to release regulations for the tariffs within 10 days.

The action being taken, the president said, follows a nine-month investigation by the Department of Commerce, documenting a growing crisis in USA steel and aluminium production that threatens the security of the country. "I have a feeling we're going to make a deal", said Trump.

Trump has said he would consider exemptions based on national security grounds and the economic relationship between various countries and the U.S.

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Trump's authority to establish the tariffs stems from a Commerce Department investigation that found that imports of the metals pose a risk to national security.

During the press conference officially announcing the tariffs Thursday, Trump threatened again to terminate NAFTA unless "a fair deal" for American workers and farmers is reached. However, he will "remain open to moderating and removing the tariffs" from any other countries, as long as we can "agree on a way to insure that their products no longer threaten our security".

Nevertheless, during his announcement yesterday, Trump repeated his threat to pull out of the 24-year-old trade agreement if it can not be reworked to his liking.

Before the Trump administration's Section-232 investigation, dozens of anti-dumping and countervailing measures had been imposed on nearly all iron and steel products, with some tariffs already nearly prohibitively high.

The United States bought just 1.1% of China's steel exports past year compared with 12% for South Korea and 5% for Japan, according to the US International Trade Commission. Trump signed an executive order on January 23 which pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, fulfilling his anti-Free Trade "America First" electoral pledge.

The tariffs have anxious Wisconsin's Republican Governor Scott Walker, who last week urged Trump to reconsider.

The Ministry of Commerce said in a statement Friday that China will take "strong measures' to protect its own interests and warned the US government's actions will "seriously shake" the global trade order".

Lynch, a former ironworker, acknowledged that some countries are flooding the US with cheap steel, but stressed a more targeted approach would have been better.

"If you exempt Canada, then you have to put big tariffs on everybody else", Navarro told CNN.



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