Trump delays steel tariff decision on EU

01 May 2018, 08:22 | Isaac Mcdaniel

Trump Postpones Decision on Steel Tariffs for Many Allies, EU for Another Month

Trump delays decision on steel and aluminium tariffs

The White House will delay a decision on imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico, the New York Times reported late Monday.

According to a statement from the administration, the exemptions for Canada, Mexico, and the European Union will be extended for a "final 30 days" as negotiations continue with those countries.

The administration has also reached agreements in principle with Argentina, Australia, and Brazil with respect to steel and aluminium, the details of which will be finalised shortly, it said. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

A source familiar with the decision said that there would be no further extensions beyond June 1 to stave off tariffs.

The report came just hours before tariff exemptions were due to expire at midnight for the EU, Canada, Mexico and others, after which the major exporters would face punishing import duties of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum. The EU has threatened to retaliate by taxing goods shipped from the USA if Trump opts to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on member nations.

President Donald Trump announced extensions to steel and aluminum tariff exemptions for six key USA allies on Monday.

The U.S. imported 34.6 million metric tons of steel a year ago, a 15 percent increase from 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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Spokesmen for Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the country's Trade Minister Steven Ciobo both declined to comment when contacted by Reuters about the deal's terms before the White House's official announcement. Trump said the move was needed to protect American metal producers from unfair competition.

The metals tariffs have caused some divisions within Trump's Republican Party, as steel and aluminum consuming industries have warned that higher prices would hurt their competitiveness.

Eurozone powerhouse Germany warned last week it expected Washington to impose the tariffs from May 1, although a key economic advisor to Trump hinted on Thursday that European Union concessions in the auto sector might be enough to win an exemption.

Negotiations over US steel and aluminum tariff exemptions for Canada and Mexico have also become intertwined with intensified talks to reach an agreement to update the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Canada exported over $12 billion of steel and aluminum to the United States in 2017, with another $3 billion from Mexico.

The tariffs are already in effect for other countries, including China and Russian Federation.

The EU's three largest economies - Britain, France and Germany - held crisis talks on Sunday and the French presidency said afterward they had agreed "the EU must be ready to act" if Washington presses ahead with the tariffs.



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