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President Trump announces steep tariffs on imports of steel, aluminum

President Trump announces steep tariffs on imports of steel, aluminum

Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary, will fly to United States next week to protest over Donald Trump's decision to impose a 25 per cent tariff on steel imports.

Canada, America's neighbor to the north, was its single-largest source of steel previous year, followed by Brazil, South Korea, Russia, Mexico, Japan and Germany.

Canadian Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Perrin Beatty expressed concern in a news release that these new US tariffs will result in diversion of steel and aluminum from affected countries into Canada.

Essentially, Trump is forcing countries to come forward and present him with an alternative proposal if they don't like his tariffs, which is ot that unusual in private business.

"The actions we are taking today are not a matter of choice; they are a matter of necessity for our security", Trump said in a ceremony at the White House where he officially authorised the tariffs, which will go into effect in 15 days.

The president suggested in the meeting with his Cabinet that Australia and "other countries" also might be spared, a shift that could soften the global blow amid threats of retaliation by trading partners. Trump on Thursday declared the American steel and aluminum industries had been "ravaged by aggressive foreign trade practices" as he signed off on contentious trade tariffs. The people spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the president's signing of the orders.

That country supplies less than 5 percent of the steel and about 10 percent of the aluminum that the United States imports.

"We want a fair and level playing field", he said.

After a week of furious lobbying and a burst of last-minute internal debates and confusion, Trump agreed to exempt, for now, Canada and Mexico, and held out the possibility of later excluding allies like Australia.

There was no mention of Mexico and Canada giving ground on NAFTA in the proposals. He added that NAFTA was an important part of the US-Canada-Mexico security relationship.

China's Commerce Ministry said it "firmly opposes" Trump's move which will lead to "a serious attack on normal worldwide trade order". "It's been an assault", Trump said at the White House.

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"It's really an assault on our country", he blasted, announcing the tariffs on the metals used in everything from cars to construction, roads to railways. VIDEO: Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf responds to Jeff Sessions" "how dare you' remarksThe looming departure of Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive who has opposed the promised tariffs, set off anxiety among business leaders and investors anxious about a potential trade war.

The plan differs significantly from Trump's initial suggestion he would apply the taxes to all imports, a change that follows a week of pleas from his fellow Republicans to narrow the tariffs or abandon them entirely.

Cohn, who vocally opposed the president's plan to institute broad tariffs, announced Tuesday that he will resign from his White House post.

"He's already indicated a degree of flexibility, I think a very sensible, very balanced degree of flexibility", US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross told CNBC.

The EU's trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom will meet with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Brussels on Saturday but the EU executive said the talks would not solve all the problems.

If London presses for an opt-out that could also taint the Brexit negotiations, with Brussels potentially regarding it as a breach of trust and even lead to legal action if the United Kingdom was deemed to have broken the bloc's rules.

Australia's trade minister said he had preliminary discussions with the USA trade representative, Robert Lighthizer.

A White House official said Trump was referencing an ongoing investigation of China in which the US trade representative is studying whether Chinese intellectual property rules are "unreasonable or discriminatory" to American business.

Beijing said it was ready to retaliate in the event Chinese companies are hurt, but Friday's statement gave no indication of official action.

The EU said it was prepared to respond to any tariffs with counter-measures against US products such as Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Levi's jeans and bourbon. He says American manufacturers need to be protected on national security grounds.

Britain, meanwhile, said it would "work with European Union partners to consider the scope for exemptions outlined today", saying "tariffs are not the right way" to tackle the problem of global over-capacity in steel.


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