Trump presses European Union on trade barriers in tit-for-tat

Gary Cohn to resign as WH economic adviser

Trump presses European Union on trade barriers in tit-for-tat

In announcing a 25% tariff on steel and 10% levy on aluminum March 8, the USA president exempted Canada and Mexico "at least at this time" and cited close ties between the three nations.

Aggressive foreign trade practices are an "assault on our country", the president said, before signing a Section 232 proclamation that slaps a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum.

"As long-standing security partners of the United States, (the European Union and Japan) underlined to ambassador Lighthizer their expectation that European Union and Japanese exports to the USA would be exempted from the application of higher tariffs", an European Union statement said after the talks.

"Japanese exports of steel and aluminum have no impact on U.S. national security, and contribute greatly to U.S. employment and economic growth", Seko said at a news conference after meeting in Brussels with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

Key U.S. trading partners and businesses have warned the tariffs could backfire, provoking a trade war and hurting allies like the European Union and Japan more than China, their main target.

"The initial reaction down here was basically, 'You've already called us subhuman rapists so this is par for the course, '" said former Mexican Congressman Agustín Barrios Gómez, who now serves as president of the Mexico Image Foundation.

A broad swath of United States industries is unhappy with the tariffs that the Trump administration is imposing on aluminum and steel imports, warning the penalties will jack up costs, raise prices for consumers and potentially put people out of work.

Trump's steel tariffs are seen as an affront by most USA trading partners because the bulk of steel industry overcapacity comes from China, yet China itself would barely be touched, at least directly, by the 25% tax since it accounts for just 2% of US steel imports. "We are deadly serious" about solving what the USA sees as unfair trade in steel and aluminum.

Announcing the tariffs, Trump said Canada and Mexico would be excluded and other countries could negotiate exemptions, but he singled out Germany for particular criticism.

The EU, Japan and the United States have agreed to meet again in the margins of the Paris ministerial meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to discuss overcapacity issues.

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Trump presses European Union on trade barriers in tit-for-tat

Trump last week exempted Canada and Mexico from the 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium and said U.S. allies would have 15 days to negotiate possible exemptions.

European Commissioner Malmstrom, who coordinates policy for the 28-nation EU, the world's biggest trading bloc, said she stood ready to go to the WTO, the global trade arbiter, to impose the bloc's own safeguards within 90 days.

President Trump tweeted on Saturday that he would not impose steel and aluminium tariffs on "the great nation of Australia".

The U.N. says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (goo-TEHR'-esh) is "encouraged" by the announcement of an upcoming U.S.

"We're finally taking action to correct this long overdue problem".

"We are an ally, not a threat", he said, rejecting any hint that the bloc's exports threatened United States national security - Trump's justification for imposing the tariffs.

"We will see who is treating us fairly who is not treating us fairly", said the president. She said Canada would push "until the prospect of these duties is fully and permanently lifted", and said it would be inconceivable to apply tariffs to a close military ally like Canada on national security grounds.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), steel and aluminum tariffs could add 2 cents per watt to utility-scale solar projects, which is a significant increase on top of "job-killing" solar tariffs.

On Friday Trump imposed import tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium, sparking fears of a global trade war.

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of IL said Trump's action was "like dropping a bomb on a flea" and could carry "huge unintended consequences for American manufacturers who depend on imported materials".

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