Published: Thu, May 31, 2018
Markets | By Terence Owen

USA tariffs: Steel and aluminium levies slapped on key allies

USA tariffs: Steel and aluminium levies slapped on key allies

Ross told reporters that talks with Canada and Mexico over revising the North American Free Trade Agreement were "taking longer than we had hoped".

The decision sparks new concerns of a trade war with three of the United States' most important trading partners.

The White House delayed implementation of the tariffs for some countries, giving those trading partners a chance to offer concessions to avoid the tariffs.

Canada and Mexico have said tariffs are unacceptable, don't affect USA national security and that their implementation could put the fate of NAFTA at stake.

Besides the USA steel and aluminum tariffs, the Trump administration is also investigating possible limits on foreign cars in the name of national security. "Both Canada and Mexico will be put off by these tariffs, and may be less likely to agree to anything, for fear of looking like they are caving in to Trump's bullying".

If the US moves forward with its tariffs, the European Union has threatened to impose retaliatory tariffs on USA orange juice, peanut butter and other goods in return.

Secretary Ross made it clear thta restructuring tariffs on USA goods is a high priority for the Trump administration. The President granted temporary exemptions to a handful of countries, giving them time to negotiate permanent exclusions in exchange for accepting restrictions on how much of the metals they could sell to the United States.

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Ross, however, does not expect trade talks to be derailed because of the U.S' move. She spoke with him again later by telephone, but left the USA capital on Wednesday morning empty-handed. The Americans also pressed for a quota on the amount of steel and aluminium Canada could ship to the United States.

Ross repeated remarks he made on Wednesday in Paris during an OECD meeting that just because the United States have levied the tariffs doesn't mean that negotiations with the countries are halted even if they retaliate.

Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association of Canada, echoed Ms. Freeland. "The president is a great supporter of the farming community and as you may be aware, earlier directed sec Perdue to take whatever methods he could to offset" retaliation.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lobbied Mr. Trump directly by telephone last week, and contacted Vice-President Mike Pence on Tuesday.

Trade tensions between the European Union and the United States ran high Thursday as the clock was ticking for U.S. steel and aluminium tariffs against European producers to kick in.

He said: "If there is an escalation it will be because the European Union would have chose to retaliate".

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