Trump to impose tariffs on steel, aluminum; Canada, Mexico exempt for now

Trump to impose tariffs on steel, aluminum; Canada, Mexico exempt for now

According to him, the country of the maple leaf is a "reliable ally" of the United States, but "solid" in his decision to protest against the imposed tariffs in the case of their distribution in Canada. Trump himself has said an exemption for Canada and Mexico is possible if negotiations to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement are concluded to his satisfaction.

The mercurial 45th president compared his action to those of predecessors George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and William McKinley. "These jobs and the steel and aluminum they produce are critical to our economy - especially airplane and ship building, along with the construction of roads, bridges and other infrastructure". "This overhang of excess capacity means that US steel producers, for the foreseeable future, will face increasing competition from imported steel as other countries export more steel to the United States to bolster their own economic objectives and offset loss of markets to Chinese steel exports".

According to the US Trade Representative, the US actually maintained a $12.5 billion trade surplus with Canada in 2016, the most recent data available.

Mexico's Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo raised the prospect of reprisals if Washington pushed ahead with tariffs and insisted NAFTA remain "a trilateral accord" in response to a U.S. proposal to hold talks with Canada and Mexico separately.

As many - including the markets - predicted, when the time came for Trump to pull the trigger on trade, he went soft.

"It's hard to tell a country that "you've got a national security exemption" and then, a few months later, un-ring the bell and say 'I guess we were just fooling".

The list of targeted USA goods - including motorcycles, jeans and bourbon whiskey - sends a political message to Washington about the potential domestic economic costs of making good on the president's threat.

But he singled out Germany for criticism, reviving a longstanding gripe that European NATO allies do not pay their fair share.

"We know we have a problem like, for example, European aluminum dumping", U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, said. Judging from the strong negative reaction coming from all directions, it would seem foolish for the follow through on the suggested tariffs, since it would likely result in a lose-lose scenario for both sides.

After signing the tariffs, Trump now heads to a steel mining area of Pennsylvania, where he'll hold a rally Saturday night to campaign for Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone, who is facing off against Democratic former prosecutor and Marine Corps Captain Conor Lamb in a special election on March 13.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders added that the administration will be negotiating "with a number of different countries".

As Trump approved the tariffs, 11 partners in the Asia-Pacific were in Santiago, Chile, to sign a multilateral trade deal embraced by president Barack Obama but rejected by Trump .

Trump was expected to make the tariffs official Thursday at an afternoon ceremony in the Oval Office.

Some products under consideration are largely produced in constituencies controlled by Trump's Republican Party.

The European Union, China and Brazil have all warned they will retaliate, with the decision threatening to sour already vinegared trans-Atlantic relations.

Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin played down threats of retaliation on Friday after President Trump's steep steel and aluminum tariffs rattled aliies and rivals alike. But Scott notes: "The WTO can't really force you to change your trade policy".

The former real estate developer said USA politicians had for years lamented the decline in the steel and aluminum industries but no one before him was willing to take action.

Discarding certain WTO rulings viewed by Washington as infringing on U.S. sovereignty was exactly what the Trump White House proposed in a new trade approach sent to the U.S. Congress on February 28, breaking away from its long-time commitment to the global trade regulatory body.

"The biggest priority as a Congressman representing New Mexico is ensuring our local businesses are not adversely impacted by what the finalized package of tariffs includes and how it is applied", Pearce said.

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