Trump orders new tariffs, with exemptions for Mexico and Canada


It recognized the complex, integrated economies of all three trade partners in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the damage a 25% import tariff on steel and 10% tariff on aluminum imports into the US would cause all three nations. "The equipment manufacturing industry is profoundly disappointed at President Trump's actions today to advance import tariffs on steel and aluminum".

The tariffs will not apply to Canada and Mexico initially, with officials saying that security and trade partners could negotiate to avoid the measures coming into effect.

"We're going to hold off the tariff on those two countries, to see whether or not we're able to make the deal on NAFTA", Trump said. "Our industries have been targeted for years and years by unfair foreign practices", Mr Trump said on Thursday, citing "the decimation of entire communities" and declaring "that's going to stop".

"We will be making a decision as to who they are - we have a very close relationship with Australia", he said.

He said he spoke to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in this regard. Australian steel exports to the USA are less than 0.1% of GDP but the prospect of local exporters losing the U.S. market was a source of concern.

"As (the U.S. steel) tariffs are imposed while the two-way South Korea and U.S. FTA renegotiations are underway, we will consult with the minimize their impact (on South Korean companies)", Paik told reporters ahead of the meeting.

Trump's confirmation that there is room from exemptions is a significant weakening of the administration's position on the weekend.

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"We were very perturbed earlier in the week when the alternative view put forward by [Labor leader Bill Shorten] was to essentially escalate matters through retaliatory action", he said.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said Trump had listened to him and others who disagree with the direction of the trade policies.

Quebec business groups are sounding the alarm that Canada's temporary exemption from tariffs for its aluminum and steel exports to the United States isn't enough to ease their concerns caused by the climate of uncertainty. "We're not looking for a trade war".

Pennsylvania ranks in the top 15 states for steel and aluminum imports.

Trump's proposed tariffs closely match the recommendation in a report submitted to the president by the Department of Commerce on February 16. The move came as Japan, Canada and nine other Pacific Rim countries signed a trade deal, vowing to push back against protectionist forces.

But despite industry support, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce raised the specter of a global trade war. Steel tariffs didn't work when President Bush implemented them in 2002 or when President Obama proposed them on tires in 2009.

"America will remain open to modifying or removing the tariffs for individual nations, as long as we can agree on a way to ensure that their products no longer threaten our security", he stated. He also pointed out, according to a source, that the tough trade talk will likely have negative effects on the ongoing NAFTA negotiations.

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