Quebec's aluminum industry gets temporary relief from Trump's tariffs

11 March, 2018, 01:41 | Author: Irene Delgado
  • US President Donald Trump signs Section 232 Proclamations on Steel and Aluminum Imports in the Oval Office of the White House

American steel and aluminum makers are rebooting stalled plants and calling back hundreds of workers with the expectation that President Donald Trump's proposed tariffs will soon be enacted.

Donald Trump formally adopted new tariffs on steel and aluminium imports on Thursday while allowing United States allies to apply for exemptions, a sign of growing concern in Washington that the president was alienating America's closest worldwide partners.

But even as the afternoon event is being planned, administration officials were continuing to raise concern that excluding Canada and Mexico from the steel tariffs - something Trump himself raised as a way to gain leverage in ongoing NAFTA negotiations - could undercut the legal arguments for the tariffs themselves.

The tariffs will go into effect 15 days from Thursday and will retain flexibility for the president.

Non-US governments, and particularly democracies, "are under enormous pressure not to be seen to be caving to the Trump administration", because of his unpopularity overseas, said Timothy Meyer, an worldwide trade specialist and law professor at Vanderbilt University.

Representatives from the steel and aluminum industries have already begun convening in Washington ahead of an announcement.

"It's really my honor to start this process". "We're going have many mills opening up". Many Republicans have spoken against the plan, and Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn resigned Tuesday over policy differences.

The administration denies that the provisional exemptions for Mexico or Canada, or the potential for waivers for other countries, represents a softening of its trade stance.

Zypries told Deutschlandfunk radio that so far no tariffs had been imposed and it was too early to talk about a looming trade war.

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Since announcing new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports last week, the Trump administration has argued that it is protecting American industry from China, which in recent years flooded the global market with cheap metals.

On Thursday, Trump had said that America will remain open to modifying or removing the tariffs for individual nations.

If the countries providing 25, 30 or even 40 percent of the steel coming into the United States - it would be 40 percent if Japan and South Korea were also exempted - are not subject to the new tariffs, that would not seem to be much of a boon to USA steel manufacturers. However, China is known to have previously used economic measures against United States allies.

Australian has been lobbying hard for an exemption based on national security grounds, and Mr Trump said "great partners and military allies" may sidestep the tariffs.

Largely as a result of earlier-imposed trade sanctions, the US imports only a small fraction of its steel directly from China, which is responsible for 50 percent of the world's steel production.

Trump is also considering trade sanctions against China under a "Section 301" investigation into its intellectual property practices and pressure on foreign companies for technology transfers.

The president had until April to make a decision on the recommendations.

"And it is certainly not the right way to include Europe in that because we are friends, we are allies, we work together, we can not possibly be a threat to national security in the United States, so we are counting on being excluded".


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