Despite Extension, The EU Is Unhappy With Trump's Tariff Exemptions

Canada waits for news on US steel tariffs with deadline tomorrow
Trump keeps US allies on edge ahead of steel tariffs deadline

05 May, 2018

In morning Washington warned that it had not made decision and European authorities were prepared for worst, a trade war with USA. Or are his protectionist pronouncements merely bluster?

Mr Turnbull said the exemption supported both Australian and United States jobs and would ensure the trade relationship continued to grow in a balanced manner. Today, though, there's a bit more evidence favoring the bluster theory.

Canada, Mexico and the European Union (EU) will be exempt from USA -imposed steel and aluminum tariffs for another 30 days. What is more, the European steel association Eurofer acknowledged Monday's US decision but noted that there will be an increase in imports.

The U.S. tariffs would likely raise steel prices in the United States, thereby increasing costs for American manufacturers that buy steel and putting them at a competitive disadvantage with foreign rivals that can buy cheaper steel.

The tariffs on steel and aluminum imports into the United States went into effect March 23 as a result of the Commerce Department's Section 232 investigations into the effect of these imports on U.S. national security.

Another delegation that includes Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer, and National Economic Council head Larry Kudlow will go to Beijing to hold talks on trade.

But European Union looks stronger to give battle.

President Donald Trump has insisted his campaign did not collude with Russian Federation to help him win the election.

The Administration continues to send mixed signals on this point.

"In all of these negotiations, the administration is focused on quotas that will restrain imports, prevent transshipment, and protect the national security", U.S. President Donald Trump said in a statement Monday.

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The US steel manufacturing industry, Mr Trump hopes.

Over the weekend, Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and British Prime Minister Theresa May spoke by telephone, and Merkel later issued a statement saying that Europe was "resolved to defend its interests"-this was a signal that they wouldn't be pushed around by Trump".

"The US decision prolongs market uncertainty, which is already affecting business decisions", the European Commission said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Any future transatlantic work programme has to be balanced and mutually beneficial", it said.

An irony here is that many influential people in the European Union share some of the Trump Administration's concerns about Chinese mercantilism.

China is America's largest creditor.

"From the first meeting at Mar-a-Lago, President Trump was very clear that the major issue was the trade imbalance, that we wanted to have reciprocal trade, that our markets are open for China for investments, for trade, (but) their markets are closed". Now, in his rush to address what he sees as an imbalance between China and the US, he risks creating problems for a sector of the American economy where a trade surplus has been the norm for decades.

Argentina's steel association said late Tuesday the agreement represented great news for the national steel sector but also for the whole country.

The US initially said no countries would be exempted from the tariffs, raising acute fears for exporters. "I urge you to grant permanent exemptions - without quotas - for our aluminum trading partners that operate as market economies", chief executive of the US aluminum association Heidi Brock said in a letter to Trump.

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