Tariff plan will be fair, flexible to friendly countries
13 March, 2018, 11:30 | Author: Wade Massey
Trump signed an order for 25 percent tariffs on steel imports and ten percent for aluminum on Thursday, but exempted Canada and Mexico.
"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".
Steel and aluminum are vital for national security, said Trump, surrounded also by representatives and workers of the iron and steel industry.
Other world leaders expressed hope that deals would be made with the Trump administration to avoid tit-for-tat tariffs.
Sault MP Terry Sheehan said that any attempt to reintroduce tariffs into the North America Free Trade Agreement talks would be unacceptable.
Trump in recent weeks had complained India's tariff on the import of American motorcycles-specifically Harley-Davidsons-was too high.
Japan said the move would have a "big impact" on the countries' close bilateral ties, while China said it was "resolutely opposed" to the decision and South Korea said it may file a complaint to the World Trade Organisation.
The lobbying found a mostly receptive audience: the USA military strongly resisted tariffs against allies, and 107 congressional Republicans released a letter this week to express their alarm over the move.
"The American aluminum and steel industry has been ravaged by aggressive foreign trade practices", Trump declared at a White House ceremony, surrounded by steel and aluminum workers holding white hard hats. A total of 10 blast furnaces have been shuttered or idled in the United States since 2000, a 50-percent reduction that was attributed to foreign competition and excessive imports.
A WTO spokesperson said the organization has never ruled on a case involving national security. These measures could be supplemented by restrictions on Chinese investment into the USA, which have come into question lately on the grounds of national-security risks, such as with Chinese phone-maker Huawei. "There will be a lot of sound and fury and it will be very unnerving for all of us as we go through the process, but at the end we might get a zombie state where NAFTA's not renewed but it's not torn up either", he said.
The people were not authorized to discuss details in advance and spoke on condition of anonymity.
But the White House has repeatedly undermined its own legal case, including by intimating that the tariffs would be lorded over Canada and Mexico as some kind of negotiating tool to extract NAFTA concessions. We just want fairness because we have not been treated fairly by other countries, ? he said.
The president did not say whether he will sign tariffs on steel and aluminum imports at the meeting.
Trump reiterated that the tariff would be 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum.
President and CEO of the Aluminium Association of Canada, Jean Simard, said the problem wasn't the export of Canadian aluminium to the USA, rather the export of aluminium from China. Even if the WTO panel rules after that time that Trump's tariffs are illegal, Trump administration officials indicated previous year that they may not care that much.
He said the tariffs would also hurt the USA auto industry and result in higher costs for consumers on both sides of the border.
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