But Trump's recent announcement that he plans to slap across-the-board tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, coming on top of tariffs announced in January on Chinese solar panels and South Korean washing machines, have dashed hopes of presidential moderation.
The competing economic instincts that are dividing Trump from the rest of his Republican Party were on full display Thursday.
"I disagree with this action and fear its unintended consequences", the speaker of the House said in a statement, while welcoming the temporary exemptions granted to Mexico and Canada. Cohn has fought tariff plans for months, combating administration officials such as trade adviser Peter Navarro and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross who think the USA must do more to protect its economy from predatory policies of foreign countries, particularly China.
But even if Trump agrees to compromise on his current tariff plans, it will still leave a problematic situation for Asia.
If renegotiations are completed, "there won't be any tariffs" on the two US neighbours, Trump said.
Shares of steel companies fell, with some commentators suggesting that the tariffs might not be strong enough to help the industry.
Australian government ministers have been urgently lobbying for exemptions since President Donald Trump last week announced the 25 per cent tariff on steel and 10 per cent tariff on aluminium but have been generally pessimistic about the likelihood of special treatment. The tariffs will take effect in 15 days. "I blame our leadership for allowing it to happen". "Our factories were left to rot and to rust all over the place", Trump said.
"There are potential carve-outs for Canada and Mexico based on national security - and possibly other countries as well, based on that process", Sarah Sanders said during her daily media briefing.
All 435 seats in the House will be on ballots. It would be comical if the country were not in a bitter ongoing debate about gun control and the safety of children; but since we are, it's frustrating that time is still being spent on this long-settled "debate" instead of on practical matters. Jeff Flake has threatened to introduce legislation to nullify the President's tariffs if they are anything like what Donald Trump is predicting.
Joseph Galimberti, president of the Canadian Steel Producers Association, said they "welcome the exemption".
India's steel ministry said in a note to the trade ministry last month that USA import tariffs were expected to lead to a loss of US$130 million in exports which were expected to total 333,656 tonnes for the year ending on March 31.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who is due to meet representatives of the industry on Monday (March 12) in Brussels, said on Friday Europe must respond to the new tariffs with a united voice if its eventual counter-measures are to have an impact.