Most trading partners want exemption from Trump's tariffs

11 March, 2018, 01:48 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Most trading partners want exemption from Trump's tariffs

Brazil, the second-largest importer of steel in the U.S. market, insisted that its competitive industry did not threaten "the commercial or defence interests" of the United States, while Cecilia Malmström, the EU's trade commissioner, said that Brussels was "counting on being excluded".

"We hope that we can get confirmation that the EU is excluded from this", EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem told policy makers, experts and reporters at an event in Brussels.

A trade official says 18 members of the World Trade Organization have expressed concerns about U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, with most urging the United States to reconsider.

The EU said it was considering "all possible responses" including dispute settlement and rebalancing measures allowed under WTO rules, according to the trade official.

She predicted a "long day" of talks, while European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen sought to play down expectations, saying it was "a meeting, not THE meeting". "Looking forward to meeting USTR Lighthizer in Brussels on Sat to discuss".

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"The loss of exports to the USA, combined with an expected massive import surge in the EU could cost tens of thousands of jobs in the EU steel industry and related sectors", said Axel Eggert, director general of EUROFER, the European steel association.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin earlier said he expects countries in addition to Mexico and Canada to be exempted in the next couple of weeks. "Ironically, estimates also show that the US could also suffer a net loss of jobs as a result of the measure".

The EU exports around five billion euros' ($4 billion) worth of steel and a billion euros' worth of aluminium to the United States each year, and the European Commission, the bloc's executive arm, estimates Trump's tariffs could cost some 2.8 billion euros.

"The loss of exports to the US, combined with an expected massive import surge in the European Union, could cost tens of thousands of jobs in the European Union steel industry and related sectors", said Axel Eggert, head of steel association.

In Sydney, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull cited Washington's strong relationship with Australia, adding: "There is no case for imposing tariffs on Australian steel".

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Those threats have been overblown, according to Dani Rodrik, professor of global political economy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and one of the world's leading experts on trade.

Beijing vowed to "firmly defend its legitimate rights and interests".

Within minutes of Trump's announcement, U.S. Republican Senator Jeff Flake, a critic of the president, said he would introduce a bill to nullify the tariffs.

Some Democrats praised the move.

South Korea, the third largest steel exporter to the United States and a strategic ally on the Korean peninsula, called for calm.

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While carrying a message to Washington to push forward a diplomatic breakthrough over North Korea, Chung Eui-yong, South Korea's national security office chief asked US officials to support Seoul's request for a waiver, a presidential spokesman said.

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