Donald Trump announces new tariffs on steel and aluminium

Saturday, 10 Mar, 2018

The dispute has fueled concerns that soybeans, the US' most valuable export to the world's second-largest economy, might be caught up in the trade actions after Beijing launched a probe into imports of U.S. sorghum, a grain used in animal feed and liquor.

The measures are more nuanced than whatTrump and his advisers had initially threatened to do.

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican, said he plans to introduce legislation next week to nullify the tariffs though he has acknowledged that finding the votes to stop the president's actions could be hard.

Robert Zoellick, who served as USA trade representative under President George W. Bush, told the Brussels conference that the Geneva-based WTO risks being shaken by Trump's decision to base the steel and aluminum import levies on national-security considerations.

China, the world's biggest exporter, accused the United States of carrying out protectionism in the name of national security.

Experts say the real challenge for industry is China, which produces nearly as much steel in a month as the US does all year.

"We just want fairness, because we have not been treated fairly by other countries".

"The actions we're taking today are not a matter of choice. they're a matter of necessity for our security", Trump said at a signing ceremony at the White House held shortly after 3:30 p.m.

If you like the idea of tariffs, apply them to selected end-products from selected countries.

Exports of these products, and steel and aluminum, make up less than 1 percent of South Korea's total exports, Nomura Securities Co Ltd economist Kwon Young-sun said.

The world's two largest economies buy and sell a huge amount of other goods from each other, though. Indeed, this could be the official kickoff of the trade war we all anticipated.

Meanwhile, Mr Willox welcomed Australia's signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact and said the U.S. may sign up once it sees the benefits to other members. But it added that it will "do its best" to get on the list of countries that are exempt from the restrictions. But the US has already imposed anti-dumping measures against Chinese producers, and relatively little Chinese metal flows directly into the USA market.

Nevertheless, "the biggest risk for German exports seems to come from the USA. the risk for Germany is for real", he added.

The China Iron and Steel Association and the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association said in separate statements that the government should take countermeasures against United States products.

Donald Trump announces new tariffs on steel and aluminium
Donald Trump announces new tariffs on steel and aluminium

For her part, Minister Bishop insisted that in a meeting past year Trump told Australian officials that if he instituted tariffs, Australia would be exempt from the policy.

Wang called on the United States to respect the authority of the global trade system and revoke the measures.

It said it would study the move's impact on Japanese companies before responding further.

Steel producers in the Cleveland area were among those in the US, in recent years, who have gotten the government to impose duties against nations that engage in unfair trade to cope with their steel glut. It accounts for about 5% of steel imported to the U.S., according to S&P Global Platts.

According to a list drawn up by the European Commission, obtained by Bloomberg news, targeted USA goods include motorcycles, jeans, and bourbon whiskey.

But Trump took aim at Germany - the biggest economy in the European Union trade bloc - as a bad actor likely to face tariffs. But a Chinese vehicle coming to the United States only pays 2.5 per cent.

"Any business or any manufacturer that utilizes steel or aluminum is potentially going to be harmed by this", said Johnson.

"Even though China's over-capacity is weighing down global prices, it's not the direct cause of a loss of our aluminum and steel industries", Navarro said. He has tried to use the tariffs as leverage in ongoing talks to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement, suggesting Canada and Mexico might be exempted from tariffs if they offer more favorable terms under NAFTA. But it's not clear what would happen if those talks fall through.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canada considered the two tracks to be totally separate.

Canada is the largest supplier of both steel and aluminum to the US.

The dispute has fuelled concerns that soybeans, the United States' most valuable export to China, might be caught up in the row after Beijing launched an inquiry probe into imports of USA sorghum, a grain used in animal feed and liquor.

"The American steel and aluminum industry has been ravaged by aggressive foreign trade practices", Trump said during the announcement. What's more, unless the USA declares war on its neighbor to the north, metal supplies from Canada are not likely to be compromised. "We've raised that point at every level of the administration, including with the President".

Trump has been opposed to NAFTA throughout his presidency, but softened his approach during renegotiations in Mexico City last Monday.