Wednesday, 20 June, 2018

US to impose tariffs on European Union steel, aluminum

Trump to hit EU, Canada and Mexico with steel and aluminium tariffs Trump slaps steel tariffs on closest allies as tensions rise
Lloyd Bates | 31 May, 2018, 22:26

The European Commission, which coordinates trade policy for the 28 EU members, has said the bloc should be permanently exempted from the tariffs since it is an ally and not the cause of steel and aluminum overcapacity.

On March 23, U.S. President Donald Trump imposed a 25-per-cent tariff on steel imports and a 10-per-cent tariff on aluminum, but had granted temporary exemptions to Canada, Mexico, Brazil, the EU, Australia and Argentina.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said there wasn't enough progress in discussions with the European Union over trade concessions and Canada and Mexico on rewriting the North American Free Trade Agreement to give them permanent exemptions from the metals tariffs.

The trading partners are expected to retaliate, and have threatened to impose tariffs on US exports.

"Hopefully they can agree to keep talking about these issues, although that is unlikely", he said, adding that Trump's recent actions proved to U.S. allies that Washington would not de-escalate the dispute.

The bloc also plans to proceed with a case at the World Trade Organization against the US import restrictions.

- The imposition of tariffs will begin June 1; NAFTA negotiations are ongoing and exemptions for key trade partners could still be made at a later date.

Beyond their Americana associations, those choices-if they were to be enacted-target important political leaders in the U.S. Harleys hail from Wisconsin, the home state of outgoing House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, while bourbon is the specialty of Kentucky, where Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell is from.

European officials had assumed that Trump would follow through with duties on their exports (negotiations over the Iran deal having already convinced them that trying to dissuade the US president from scoring diplomatic own-goals was a futile enterprise).

On Wednesday, the Trudeau government said it would take additional steps to prevent foreign steel and aluminum from being dumped into the North American market - news that appeared created to try to head off the tariff decision. They are the two-biggest suppliers of foreign vehicles to the U.S.

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At the same time, a "pre-advance" team was travelling to Singapore to meet with North Koreans, the White House said. He has had the summits with Moon and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, as well as two meetings with Pompeo.

Alongside motorcycles, the EU has said it could slap additional tariffs on orange juice, whiskey and Levi's jeans, which would hit USA exporters and push up the cost of imports for European shoppers.

The Trump administration imposed the duties on imports from most other US trading partners earlier this year to stem a flood of cheap steel and aluminum into the country.

Dow Jones components Boeing (BA) and Caterpillar (CAT), heavy steel users vulnerable in a trade war, fell more than 1%.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told French daily Le Figaro it would be announced either before markets opened or after they closed.

The EU believes these unilateral USA tariffs are unjustified and at odds with World Trade Organisation rules. "This is protectionism, pure and simple", Juncker said.

Europe also said it would start the process for enacting retaliatory tariffs.

"We will consider whatever actions they do take but our focus is as mentioned on national security aspects of steel and aluminum", he said.

Meantime, Canadian producers are mired in uncertainty, said Tony Kafato, president of Toronto-based Venture Steel, which processes carbon steel and aluminum for the auto industry and other customers.

Ross is scheduled to go to China this weekend for a third round of negotiations. The action was mainly targeted at China over accusations of flooding the global market with cut-rate metals and dragging down prices.

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