European Union seeking more clarity over Trump's tariffs move

Donald Trump

US president Donald Trump

The Europeans are very-very fond of free trade, well they claim to be, they actually have extremely high tariff barriers on many areas including agriculture, but ostensibly they are very-very pro-free trade and they tend to react aggressively when any other country does take trade measures against them. The U.S. beer industry has asked Trump not to impose the tariffs on aluminum used in beer cans.

He's urging his colleagues to pass the bill before the administration inflicts "more damage on the economy".

"Since 1998, countless steel mills and aluminum smelters have closed". Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina, the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, said it's better to target "these rogue players". "Australia/US trade is fair & reciprocal & each of our nations has no closer ally", the prime minister wrote on Twitter.

The dispute has fuelled concerns that soybeans, the United States's most valuable export to China, might be caught up in the row after Beijing launched a probe into imports of US sorghum, a grain used in animal feed and liquor.

The president's tariffs - 25 percent on steel, and 10 percent on aluminum imports - are only the latest protectionist ploy that impede his infrastructure push.

Trump, in turn, cited Musk's tweet as justification for the new levies during a press conference Thursday.

That is not enough, however, and the tariffs, set to go into effect in 15 days, should be stopped, a responsibility that now falls to Congress. He says Canada and Mexico could be exempted based on the outcome of talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

China is just America's 11th-biggest supplier of foreign steel and the fourth-biggest supplier of aluminum.

Trump said he was merely fulfilling a campaign promise, saying he had been talking about perceived trade injustices "a long time, a lot longer than my political career". There have been reports that trade hawk Peter Navarro is to be promoted to a more powerful role within the Trump administration. "That's what pipeline operators feel like they need to keep a period of buildout going, so projects aren't delayed or cancelled because of cost", he said. But if no deal is reached in negotiations among the three countries that began in August, "then we're going to terminate NAFTA and we'll start all over again or we'll just do it a different way", Trump added.

One of his main products is steel fencing.

Flanked by a handful of steel and aluminium workers, Trump presented the move as a way to rebuild vital industries decimated by foreign competition. "He's rebuffed Chinese efforts to avoid tensions, including offers of market opening and increased imports, and has declared China a "threat", guilty of economic aggression", said Mr Lawson.

Concessions could be required to protect the $7 billion in steel and aluminum exports the European Union sends each year to the United States. He was preceded earlier this year by Dina Powell, former deputy national security adviser, who is returning to Goldman. He said unfair foreign competition had played a major role in the layoffs of about 500 of the union's members at U.S. Steel in Lorain and another 700 at Republic Steel, also in Lorain. Hence, his broadside attack against many traditional US allies, including Canada, Japan and Mexico. They spoke only on condition of anonymity to discuss internal administration roles.

The announcement comes amid a last-minute lobbying effort to blunt the impact of tariffs.

Trump said the "aggressive" foreign trade amounted to an "assault" on the United States, but that he would also show flexibility with friendly countries, possibly removing tariffs for some.

Trump exempted neighbouring Canada and Mexico, and hinted that "flexibility and cooperation" would be shown to friendly countries.

As Trump vows to sign new bilateral treaties and amend the North American Free Trade Agreement, congressional leaders could seize the moment to reaffirm their role in USA trade policy. Japan's steel industry body also expressed concern.

Trump announced last week that he would implement the tariffs, which led many other Republicans and elements of his own White House to widely criticize the suggestion.

"What an extremely stupid move", said Li Xinchuang, vice secretary general of the China Iron and Steel Association.

The president did not say whether he will sign tariffs on steel and aluminum imports at the meeting. During that period, American presidential leadership played a crucial role in lowering barriers to worldwide trade, establishing global rules and organizations for cross-border commerce - particularly between countries in a growing US-sponsored trading order - and steadily expanding the volume and value of traded goods and services.

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