Turnbull Says Trump Promised Him Exemption on Metals Tariffs

Frederick Owens
March 12, 2018

Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen warned Washington on Friday not to expect any concessions to win an exemption.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland discussed the tariffs with US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan.

The EU threatened an "arsenal" of retaliatory measures when the tariffs were first proposed, including imposing import tariffs on products made in red districts. Japan has warned of the dangers of tit-for-tat measures. Seko also said these exports had made key contributions to USA industries and jobs, the statement said without elaborating.

But Trump took aim at Germany - the biggest economy in the European Union trade bloc - as a bad actor likely to face tariffs.

Lighthizer didn't comment publicly after the meetings. Not fair or sustainable. "We are deadly serious" about solving what the USA sees as unfair trade in steel and aluminum.

Trump insisted in a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron - a leading European Union player staunchly opposed to the tariffs - that the "decision is necessary and appropriate to protect national security".

"The president and I are both very much of the same mind - that there must be no relenting in the economic pressure on North Korea", Turnbull said.

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters in South Australia on Saturday that he was "very pleased the president was able to confirm that he would not have to impose tariffs on Australian steel and aluminum".

EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, who coordinates policy for the world's biggest trading bloc, said she shared United States of America concerns about overcapacity in the steel sector but did not believe in tariffs as a way to solve the problem. Big deficit. If not, we tax cars etc.

"Due to the unique nature of our relationship with Canada and Mexico ... we're gonna hold off the tariff for those two countries", Trump said during a signing ceremony.

Key U.S. trading partners and businesses have warned the tariffs could backfire, provoking a trade war and hurting allies like the European Union and Japan more than China, their main target. He was apparently referring to the European Union threats of retaliation. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Wednesday that Canada and Mexico may get a special "carve-out" that would protect them from the tariffs. He added that national security was an important part of that deal and, if a deal is made, "this will figure into the deal and we won't have the tariffs on Canada or Mexico".

The Trump administration's rollout of new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports has left countries confused about whether they can win exemptions, but Australia seems to have accomplished it with a phone call from the country's prime minister to President Trump. Canada is the top supplier of both to the USA, with $15 billion a year in combined sales.

Foreign steel producers are not only concerned about losing access to the USA market but also that steel from other exporters will flood already saturated markets, threatening jobs elsewhere.

Along with a huge range of steel products, the EU's hit list of flagship American products lined up for counter measures includes peanut butter, bourbon whiskey and denim jeans.

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