Trump's global trade war

Robyn Valdez
May 31, 2018

"We need to act vigorously to support our domestic industries, and to send a message to the USA administration that their unilateral protectionist measures will not come without a serious cost to themselves", Perrin Beatty, the chamber's president and CEO, said in a written statement.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the tariffs would be 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, and go into effect on Friday, as the administration followed through on the penalties after earlier granting exemptions to buy time for negotiations.

South Korea negotiated a steel quota, while Argentina, Australia and Brazil have arranged for "limitations on the volume they can ship to the USA in lieu of tariffs", Ross said. "The UK and other European Union countries are close allies of the U.S. and should be permanently and fully exempted from the American measures on steel and aluminium", Britain said in a statement.

"Mexico reiterates its openness to constructive dialogue with the United States, its support for the global commerce system and its rejection of unilateral protectionist measures", it said.

The expansion builds on new funding announced in late April of an initial outlay of more than $30 million over five years to hire 40 new officers to investigate trade-related complaints, including those linked to steel and aluminum.

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France's Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire had met with Ross on Thursday in a bid to end the stand-off over steel and aluminum, a move that ultimately failed to sway the USA administration.

During a conference call early Thursday, Ross shrugged off questions about the USA facing possible retaliation, or whether the move would negatively affect the G7 meeting.

Meanwhile, negotiations with Canada and Mexico to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement were "taking longer than we had hoped" and there was no "precise date" for concluding them, so their exemption also would be removed, Ross told reporters. "It's not that we can't talk just because there's tariffs". He said he's still planning to make a trip to Beijing this weekend even after the USA announced it would slap tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods, jeopardizing a fragile agreement to reduce the US trade deficit with China.

Both Mexico and the European Union announced retaliatory tariffs in response to Trump's announcement, with Mexico promising to slap taxes on American steel products, pork and various agriculture, and the European Union imposing taxes on imported American bourbon, jeans and motorcycles, among other products.

The EU, Canada and Mexico had been given a temporary reprieve from the tariffs when they were first announced by Trump two months ago.

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Trump imposed the tariffs in March to address global oversupply of the metals, but though it was largely aimed at China it hit United States allies as well.

European Union leaders have said they will not negotiate with the U.S. on trade while the tariff issue is unresolved or, as France's President Macron has put it, while they have a gun pointing at their head.

Such an action could hurt Mexico, Canada, Germany and Japan.

The Commission will also immediately begin a dispute settlement with the World Trade Organisation. The decision will punish the US's closest allies, including Canada, Europe and Mexico.

The United States negotiated voluntary export limits with several other friendly nations, including South Korea, Argentina, Australia and Brazil.

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'But they can also increase costs more broadly for US manufacturers who cannot source all their needs locally and have to import the materials.

Other reports by Info About Network

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