Published: Sun, March 11, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Australia steels for Trump tariff decision

Australia steels for Trump tariff decision

Trump announced on Thursday that he's slapping a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum.

China, which ranks 11 among the largest sources of U.S. steel imports, was also the only country named in a White House statement on the tariffs, amid a worldwide glut of aluminium that has shuttered USA smelters.

USA president Donald Trump has imposed controversial tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminium in retaliation to what he has called "unfair trade".

"Undoubtedly, the resulting higher steel and aluminum prices are clearly nothing more than a tax on the American people".

Japan, the sixth biggest exporter of steel to the United States, also hit out.

Railroad tracks run past the blast furnaces of the now-closed Bethlehem Steel mill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, April 21, 2016. Their continuation depends partly on progress in negotiations to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement, the official said.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recommended that Trump consider instituting a tariff of at least 7.7 percent on all aluminum exports from all countries, setting a 23.6 percent tariff on all aluminum products from China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela and Vietnam and making them subject to quotas, or imposing a quota on all aluminum imports from countries equal to a maxium of 87 percent of their 2017 exports to the U.S.

Trump said the tariffs - which will come into effect after 15 days - will not initially apply to Canada and Mexico, and that close partners on security and trade could negotiate exemptions.

Mukhisa Kituyi said they were casualties of the process, but there was very little they can do right now, because the least-developed countries were incapable of retaliatory action against the US.

U.S. President Donald Trump says his big tariff announcement is coming today, even as his White House wrestles internally over the policy, numerous political allies warn him against it and the rest of the world watches warily.

American steel and aluminum workers have always been betrayed, Trump said, but "that betrayal is now over".

"We have to protect and build our steel and aluminum industries, while at the same time showing great flexibility and cooperation toward those who are really friends of ours, both on a trade basis and a military basis", Trump said at a signing ceremony attended by steel and aluminum workers. The presidency has no inherent authority to adjust tariffs, but Congress long ago began allowing presidents latitude on trade that affects national security - which is how Trump is justifying the new tariffs. He further said that the country was losing $500 billion a year to China and something had to be done.

Beijing said it was ready to retaliate in the event Chinese companies are hurt, but Friday's statement gave no indication of official action. He added that NAFTA was an important part of the U.S. -Canada-Mexico security relationship.

"Because tariffs are taxes that make USA businesses less competitive and US consumers poorer, any tariffs that are imposed should be created to address specific distortions caused by unfair trade practices in a targeted way while minimizing negative consequences on American businesses and consumers", the letter states.

He has left open an avenue for potentially modifying or removing a tariff under certain conditions for individual countries, it said.

"Under the WTO rules, the European Union can not put in these kinds of tariffs except after the WTO has found that the move by the USA violated the WTO rules", Ross said.

He repeatedly argued that exemptions would throw the whole thing out of whack, saying that "as soon as you exempt one country, then you have to exempt another country".

"And it is certainly not the right way to include Europe in that because we are friends, we are allies, we work together, we can not possibly be a threat to national security in the United States, so we are counting on being excluded".

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