Published: Sun, March 11, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Mexico exempt from new tariffs-for now

Mexico exempt from new tariffs-for now

"It's really an assault on our country", he said, in announcing the tariffs of 25 per cent on imported steel and 10 per cent on aluminum. Both come into effect in 15 days.

"The American steel and aluminium industry has been ravaged by aggressive foreign trade practices".

Confusion reigned in Washington overnight, with contradictory reports sparking a "will he or won't he" guessing game as Trump's leanings seemed to change by the hour.

Railroad tracks run past the blast furnaces of the now-closed Bethlehem Steel mill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, April 21, 2016. He excluded Mexico and Canada, as long as they negotiate a new North American Free Trade Agreement, and threw the door open to further exclusions for countries and niche products.

Quebec business groups are sounding the alarm that Canada's temporary exemption from tariffs for its aluminum and steel exports to the United States isn't enough to ease their concerns caused by the climate of uncertainty.

The EU has warned that it could retaliate with tariffs on USA steel, agricultural and other products, such as peanut butter, cranberries and orange juice.

The senior administration official lambasted critics of the president's tariffs saying, "Nobody inside the beltway should express any sort of surprise".

"If Canada and Mexico were to be excluded, we would perhaps maybe have to raise the tariffs on everybody else - and modestly I might add, modestly - to ensure that our steel and aluminum industries are defended", he said.

Despite objections by many business trade groups, by most Democrats and Republicans, and by a number of advisers in the Trump administration, the USA president forged ahead with his plan on Thursday, keeping a promise he made during his 2016 presidential campaign.

The president has said the tariffs are needed to reinforce lagging American steel and aluminium industries and protect national security. The department recommended a 24 percent global tariff on steel and a 7.7 percent global tariff on aluminum.

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Flake noted that when President Jimmy Carter imposed a tariff on oil imports in the 1970s, Congress voted to nullify them and even overrode a subsequent presidential veto to do so.

"These measures could make a significant impact on the economic and cooperative relationship between Japan and the United States, who are allies", said Taro Kono, Japan's trade minister, in a statement.

European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen said: "We all have to choose whether we want rules-based trade - which supports rules-based world order - or do we want rule of force, or the rule of the strongest, which we have now seen?"

The European Union on Wednesday detailed a list of US-made goods that it would subject to reciprocal tariffs if Trump follows through with his plan.

He added: "We urge the administration to take this risk seriously".

Australia, which sends more than $US400 million of steel and aluminium to the USA each year, is also hoping for an exemption.

"If we reach a [NAFTA] deal, it's most likely that we won't be charging those two countries the tariffs", he said.

He also faced continued criticism from his Republican party, most notably House Speaker Paul Ryan who continued to lament Trump's move. "Steel is steel. If you don't have steel, you don't have a country". We will always stand up for Canadian workers and Canadian businesses.

Senator Lamar Alexander said Mr Trump had listened to him and others who disagree with the direction of the trade policies.

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