Published: Mon, March 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Trump Says Australia to Secure Exemption From US Tariffs

Trump Says Australia to Secure Exemption From US Tariffs

Donald Trump exempted Canada and Mexico Wednesday from punishing new tariffs on steel and aluminum into the U.S.

The American president made his comments after crunch talks in Brussels between European Union negotiators and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in an effort to defuse a bitter row that many fear could turn into an all-out trade war.

"The president and I are both very much of the same mind - that there must be no relenting in the economic pressure on North Korea", Turnbull said.

"We want to have dialogue, right up to the very end, but if talking gets us nowhere then Europe can not be naive, it will have to retaliate, in an adequate and proportional way, and in a way that says you can not hit us like this", said France's Secretary of State at the Ministry of Europe & Foreign Affairs, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne.

"We're doing tariffs on steel". Big deficit. If not, we tax cars etc.

Trump later tweeted: "The European Union, wonderful countries who treat the USA very badly on trade, are complaining about the tariffs on Steel & Aluminum".

"Working very quickly on a security agreement so we don't have to impose steel or aluminum tariffs on our ally, the great nation of Australia!" the American president added.

But after two-way talks with Lighthizer, European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem tweeted: "No immediate clarity on the exact U.S. procedure for exemption however, so discussions will continue next week".

"We have structured these proclamations in a way which are unequivocally created to defend our aluminum and steel industries", the official said.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop confirmed on Friday that Norman, a fast friend of the president, was asked to lobby Trump on behalf of Australia, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

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After months of frantic lobbying, diplomatic arm-twisting and heated debates within his own administration, Trump made good on his tariff threat at the White House, surrounded by steelworkers. But I have a feeling we're gonna make a deal on NAFTA. "Steel is back, and aluminum is back".

Lighthizer didn't comment publicly after the meetings. In the days leading up to Thursday's announcement, the biggest trade move of Trump's presidency, key industry players and trading partners were still in the dark about the contours of the plan.

"If Trump wants his allies to demonstrate that they are united in tackling problems with China, this is precisely that", the source added. European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen said it would be "a meeting, not THE meeting".

If no exemption is won, the European Union announced on Wednesday it plans to retaliate with taxes on bourbon, peanut butter, cranberries, orange juice and steel and aluminum products.

Germany - singled out for particular criticism by Trump - accused Washington of protectionism, calling the tariffs an "affront to close partners". "FAIR!" Mr. Trump said in a tweet.

He also said he expects other countries affected by Trump's protectionist trade policies to file disputes with the World Trade Organization.

The EU is also maintaining a threat of counter-measures that would target US imports ranging from maize to motorcycles, and may publish its list next week to allow industry and other interested parties to give their input.

There were no immediate details on what such a "security agreement" would entail.

"The European Union has not treated us well, and it's been a very, very unfair trade situation".

Australian steel and aluminum exports to the United States were worth just over A$400 million previous year, government data shows.

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