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Trump sets steel and aluminum tariffs; Mexico, Canada exempted

Trump sets steel and aluminum tariffs; Mexico, Canada exempted

Efforts by Trump and U.S. trade negotiators to link the NAFTA trade pact talks to the duties have been heavily criticized by Ottawa and Mexico City. There is speculation Canada will be exempt from new tariffs on steel and aluminum expected to be announced by US President Donald Trump this afternoon.

Wilson says likely retaliatory measures taken by other nations could easily create an economic crisis.

She says the tariffs will make steel that's not easily found in the US far more expensive.

The mercurial 45th president compared his action to those of predecessors George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and William McKinley.

The people briefed on the plans say all countries affected by the tariffs are being invited to negotiate for exemptions, if they can address the threat their exports pose to the U.S.

The White House is moving closer to imposing tariffs on aluminum and steel imports, but America's neighbors will be exempt - for now. It's hard to see how the conclusion of a new NAFTA deal would alter the security situation, suggesting the president's linkage between an exception for Canada and Mexico and the conclusion of a renegotiated NAFTA agreement has little to do with national security and more to do with leverage and protectionism. However, this innovation is not going to catch two bordering countries: Canada and Mexico, with whom negotiations on the NAFTA (free trade).

Another GOP bill would require Congress to approve trade actions, but it's doubtful the GOP-led Congress can muster the votes to block Trump.

In Mexico, the main USA negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, said that the revision of the pact was slower than expected with only six chapters completed with 30 pending, since the parties began negotiations in August 2017.

"Trade wars are not won, they are only lost", said Mr Flake, who previous year announced that he would not seek re-election in 2018, meaning he is less susceptible to the President's frequent attacks than most. "But we have to do it", EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had said Friday. White House economic adviser Gary Cohn is summoning executives from US companies that depend on the metals to meet this week with Trump to try to persuade him to blunt or halt the tariffs announced last week, according to two people familiar with the matter.

But where does that leave the rationale of national security, Levy quite rightly asks?

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Trump has been opposed on the tariff plans by Defense Secretary James Mattis and White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, who have warned against penalizing United States allies and undercutting the economic benefits of the president's tax overhaul.

The Trump administration may have already answered the second.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told CNBC in an interview on March 9 that President Donald Trump will take national security into account in deciding which countries to exempt from the tariffs, and he noted that Trump wants to see North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies spend more on defense.

"Our initial assessment of the steel and aluminum tariffs the President announced today indicates negative and unintended consequences that run counter to the administration's intention".

But there was political criticism aplenty, especially from Trump's own Republican Party.

Trump reiterated that the tariff would be 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum. However, he must be cautious of escalating a trade dispute into a trade war.

"The steel crisis cost our industry thousands of jobs and the last thing we need now is a global trade war".

The run-up to Thursday's announcement included intense debate within the White House, pitting hard-liners against free trade advocates such as outgoing economic adviser Gary Cohn.

China has been singled out as a prime target of the new policy, and Beijing has said it "firmly opposes" the tariffs and has in the past threatened retaliation.