US, Australia working quickly on a 'security agreement' to avoid 232 tariffs

Gladys Abbott
March 10, 2018

The United States is working to exempt ally Australia from its newly unveiled foreign steel and aluminium tariffs, President Donald Trump said today, tying the effort to a security agreement.

The president tweeted late on March 9 that he had spoken with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and said "He is committed to having a very fair and reciprocal military and trade relationship".

President Donald Trump has suggested that Australia could be exempt from a move by the U.S. to impose heavy tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Turnbull soon replied with his own tweet, saying Australia had "no closer ally" than the US.

"As a country with a high reliance on trade, the risks of broader damage to the global economy from a trade war are great", Mr Willox said.

Australia, Canada and Mexico are among the countries trying to dodge the Trump administration's proposed 25 per cent tariff on steel and 10 per cent tariff on aluminium imports.

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Trump on Thursday afternoon signed paperwork to impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, despite warnings from Republicans, Democrats and worldwide leaders that such a move could have unintended consequences.

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop is in NY urgently seeking a meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to raise concerns about the tariff hike.

But it is an export market worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Australian businesses nevertheless.

The tariffs carved out an exemption for Canada and Mexico, and allow other nations to argue for similar exceptions.

Mr Trump is expected to sign a presidential proclamation establishing the tariffs during a ceremony scheduled for 3.30pm on Thursday (7.30am on Friday AEDT), a source familiar with the situation says.

Are you glad to hear this news? "This is a very important matter for Australia, it's also a very important principle", she said.

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