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Trump announces stiff trade tariffs, unswayed by warnings

11 March, 2018, 01:15 | Author: Lula Armstrong
  • Scunthorpe steelworks

Officials would look into the extent of the tariffs and how New Zealand might secure an exemption, Mr Robertson said.

During the signing ceremony, Trump said the U.S.'s neighbors to the north and south-Canada and Mexico-will be exempt, pending the ongoing renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.

Peter Navarro, Trump's trade and manufacturing adviser, said in an interview on Fox Business on Wednesday that the tariffs would go into effect within about 15 to 30 days and that the proclamation signed by the president would include a clause that would not immediately impose tariffs on Canada and Mexico.

If such tariffs are imposed, they further argued, the White House should: exclude all fairly traded products and those that do not pose a national security threat; announce a robust exclusion process that allows USA companies to petition for and obtain duty-free access for imports unavailable from domestic sources; grandfather in existing contracts for aluminum and steel purchases; and review the policy's effects on the economy.

Mr Turnbull on Saturday boasted he had been a "relentless" advocate for Australian exporters, not only in discussions with the US President on trade but in negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11) signed this week with countries including Japan, Canada, Mexico and Chile. So which is it? "Countries refused special treatment could still hit back against the USA with trade barriers of their own down the road". Inquiring minds want to know.

The European Union has already identified USA blue jeans, bourbon, and motorcycles as possible targets.

The EU intends to hit a range of U.S. goods with punitive tariffs in retaliation should the bloc face the USA import taxes.

"Europe is certainly not a threat to American internal security, so we expect to be excluded", Ms Malmstrom, the trade commissioner, told reporters in Brussels on Friday.


Japan said the move would have a "big impact" on the countries close bilateral ties, while China said it was "resolutely opposed" to the decision and South Korea said it may file a complaint to the World Trade Organisation.

The president has said the tariffs are needed to reinforce lagging American steel and aluminum industries and protect national security.

The people briefed on the plans say all countries affected by the tariffs are being invited to negotiate for exemptions, if they can address the threat their exports pose to the U.S.

Allowing country exemptions is a notable departure from the broader tariffs Trump was said to favor last week, but which drew fast criticism from trading partners around the world who threatened to retaliate with tariffs of their own. He added that NAFTA was an important part of the U.S. -Canada-Mexico security relationship. McCain said America should confront China's "unfair" trade practices, including its attempts to circumvent existing anti-dumping tariffs and its pilfering of American invention and innovation through coercion and outright theft.

European industry associations called on Malmstrom to respond if the EU was subjected to the tariffs, saying they would hit the steel and aluminium sectors hard.

Trump has said the US will be "very fair" but "very flexible" and "protect the American worker".

The initial exemptions for Canada and Mexico are not time-limited but are created to last only long enough for the administration to assess the outlook for the NAFTA renegotiations.

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