Trump administration will put steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the EU

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Thu May 31, 2018 1:42 pm

I hope Europe and China needs Ravs and the RX!

Trump administration will put steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the EU

The Trump administration will put tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, the latest action in a string of protectionist policies to crack down on alleged trade abuses.

The tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports will take effect at midnight Thursday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told reporters. The U.S. gave those allies a reprieve from the duties, but the exemptions were set to expire Friday. The Trump administration will place quotas or volume limits on other countries such as South Korea, Argentina, Australia and Brazil instead of tariffs, he said.

Condemnation from U.S. allies poured in immediately Thursday. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called the tariffs "unjustified" and said the EU will introduce countermeasures in the coming hours. A spokesperson for the British government also said the U.K. is "deeply disappointed" in the move and added U.S. allies "should be permanently and fully exempted" from the tariffs. Mexico also said it would impose tariffs in response to the U.S. actions.

The Trump administration move is only its latest in a series of actions targeting foreign countries' trade practices that escalates the chances of a trade war with major world economies. Trump has repeatedly promised to crack down on trade habits that he says harm American companies and sap U.S. jobs.

In a proclamation announcing the measures, Trump wrote that he agreed with Ross' "finding that steel mill articles are being imported into the United States in such quantities and under such circumstances as to threaten to impair the national security of the United States." American steel and aluminum producers have cheered the Trump administration's metals tariffs, and shares of companies such as U.S. Steel and AK Steel surged Thursday.

Meanwhile, the prospect of more protectionism led the Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 to hit their lows for Thursday trading after the news. The U.S. dollar also approached a session high against the Canadian dollar and Mexican peso.

The actions come as the U.S. tries to strike a revised North American Free Trade Agreement deal with Canada and Mexico, and settle other trade concerns with the EU. It will increase tensions with allies even as the U.S. seeks help to address alleged trade abuses by China.

The Commerce secretary said the exemptions would end in part because NAFTA talks are "taking longer than we had hoped." Negotiations with Europe have "made some progress" but not gone far enough to warrant more relief from the tariffs, he added.

"We look forward to continued negotiations both with Canada and Mexico on the one hand, and with the European Commission on the other hand, because there are other issues that we also need to get resolved," Ross said.
In a subsequent interview with CNBC, he contended that retaliatory tariffs from U.S. allies would not have a significant effect on the U.S. economy.

The metals tariff decision comes as the Trump administration tries to negotiate a pact with China to avoid a potentially devastating trade war. On Tuesday, the White House said it would release a list by mid-June of about $50 billion worth of Chinese goods on which the U.S. will impose a 25 percent tariff.

Trump's move to crack down on metals imports has received praise from pockets of both major political parties who contend foreign products have hurt the American steel and aluminum industries. Some free trade lawmakers in Trump's Republican Party have opposed the actions.

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., called Trump's decision Thursday "dumb" and said "you don't treat allies the same way you treat opponents." Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., also tweeted "this is no way to treat our allies, Mr. President."

The CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers CEO, Jay Timmons, told CNBC on Thursday ahead of the announcement that the tariffs "could harm manufacturers in the United States." Meanwhile, the powerful political network funded by conservative billionaire donors Charles and David Koch denounced the decision to implement the tariffs, urging the White House to "abandon" similar policies.

In announcing the metals tariffs in March, the president argued trade trends "destroyed" U.S. steel and aluminum companies.

"People have no idea how badly our country has been treated by other countries. By people representing us who didn't have a clue," Trump said.

A trade team led by Ross met with EU economic officials on Wednesday, but those efforts apparently did not yield results.

In a statement, Juncker said he is "concerned" by the U.S. decision and called the tariffs "unjustified and at odds with World Trade Organization rules." He said "overcapacity" in the steel sector is the issue, but denied the EU is the source of it.

"By targeting those who are not responsible for overcapacities, the US is playing into the hands of those who are responsible for the problem. The US now leaves us with no choice but to proceed with a WTO dispute settlement case and with the imposition of additional duties on a number of imports from the US," the statement said.

The EU has already prepared a list of U.S. products to target. Those American exports include bourbon, rice and motorcycles.

Mexico also said Thursday it will target a variety of U.S. products with equivalent measures. The country could target products such as fruit, cheeses and lamps. ... he-eu.html
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Thu May 31, 2018 1:53 pm

Canada hits back at U.S. with dollar-for-dollar tariffs on steel, aluminum

Canada is countering the United States' decision to slap punishing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports by imposing tariffs of its own.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canada is hitting back with duties of up to $16.6 billion on steel, aluminum and other products from the U.S., including maple syrup, beer kegs and whiskies.

She and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement side by side hours after U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross confirmed the U.S. is following through on its threat to impose tariffs of 25 per cent on imported steel and 10 per cent on imported aluminum, citing national security interests.

The government is soliciting consultations on its plans until June 15. The new Canadian tariffs would kick in July 1.

Trudeau called the Trump administration's national security argument "inconceivable" and called the tariffs "an affront to the Canadians who died" alongside Americans in battle.

Before today's announcement of Canada's countermeasures, a senior government source with direct knowledge of the talks said the cabinet committee on Canada-U.S. affairs met Thursday morning to discuss an appropriate response, describing its efforts as "finding a sweet spot."

The source said the challenge was coming up with a response that makes sense and allows Canada to be a "credible country."

About 90 per cent of Canada's steel exports head to the United States, according to the Canadian Steel Producers Association. Steel is produced in five provinces, but the industry is heavily concentrated in Ontario.

U.S. President Donald Trump had granted exemptions on the tariffs to his North American Free Trade Agreement allies and the European Union, but those were set to expire June 1.

During a call with reporters Thursday morning, Ross said Canada's and Mexico's exemptions were linked to the progress of the NAFTA negotiations, which "are taking longer than we had hoped."

Mexico, EU to retaliate

Mexico responded swiftly with tariffs of its own on U.S. exports of pork bellies, grapes, apples and flat steel, the Associated Press reported.

The EU also announced it would launch a dispute settlement case at the WTO and impose "rebalancing measures."

"Today is a bad day for world trade. We did everything to avoid this outcome," said EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström.

"The U.S. has sought to use the threat of trade restrictions as leverage to obtain concessions from the EU. This is not the way we do business."

Ross tried to deflect suggestions the tariffs would damage ongoing NAFTA talks and the upcoming G7 meetings in Quebec.

"If any of these parties does retaliate, that does not mean that there cannot be continuing negotiations," Ross said.

"They're not mutually exclusive behaviours."

He did allow some leeway, saying the U.S. could be flexible.

"We continue to be quite willing, and indeed eager, to have further discussions," Ross said.

Security reasoning questioned

Conservative MP Erin O'Toole said Canada should be treated differently than the EU when it comes to security.

"Very disappointed that despite Canada being the most closely integrated security partner for the United States, Trudeau was unable to secure a deal to treat our industries and our workers fairly," he said.
Canada's procurement minister cast doubt on the U.S.'s national security justification.

"It is very difficult to fathom that there would be a security risk imposed by Canada on the United States," said Public Services and Procurement Minister Carla Qualtrough, She was in Ottawa attending Cansec, Canada's largest annual arms show.

She said the federal government has "contingency plans" in place to absorb the impact of U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum on defence projects.

Multi-billion-dollar programs to buy new fighter jets and warships are all heavily dependent on the price of steel.
canadian-steel-and-aluminum-at-a-glance.jpg (179.79 KiB) Viewed 821 times
"We prepare for this kind of thing," said the Delta MP. "There is money set aside, whether it be for tariffs or for interest rate fluctuations, so we can proceed with our defence procurement should there be additional costs associated because of tariffs or other unexpected circumstances."

'Not the action of a friend'

On Wednesday, Trudeau called Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, all in regions with large steel and aluminum sectors, to talk about the upcoming decision.

The Prime Minister's Office said they "all agreed to continue to defend the Canadian steel and aluminum industry from unwarranted tariffs and to stand up for the best interests of all Canadian workers and businesses."

Wynne called Trump a "bully" and urged the federal government to push back.

"We need to hit Trump where it hurts — in his wallet," the premier — currently fighting to keep her job in Ontario's provincial election — said Thursday. ​"This short-sighted decision is an attack on Ontario's steel industry and its workers. It is not the action of a friend, an ally or economic partner."

She also called on her provincial political rivals to come together to speak with one voice.

Couillard, whose province is the country's largest producer of aluminum, called the tariffs "illogical."
"It's a bad decision for the Americans. They're increasing manufacturing and defence industry costs," he said in French.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced late Wednesday that the government would bolster its measures to prevent foreign steel and aluminum from being dumped into the North American market, but it appears to have done little to prevent the U.S.'s punitive duties

Canada's attempt to thwart the tariffs came in concert with its European allies, who were also trying to stop the U.S.

Both Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron made their cases separately to the U.S administration, while other European officials met with their U.S. counterparts in Paris on Thursday. ... -1.4685242
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