Trump negotiating with nations on tariffs

By , 25/04/2020 19:38

US President Donald Trump is negotiating to exempt some countries from his metals tariffs.US President Donald Trump is negotiating with a number of countries over the possibility of providing exemptions to new US tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, the White House says.

“He’s … working with a number of individual countries and negotiating on areas of national security where we can work together and there’s some flexibility there,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters on Friday.

“We’re continuing to have those conversation and will continue through … the end of next week,” she said.

It comes as the European Commission called for industry views on Friday on a list of US products it will subject to import tariffs, the first step towards measures to counter planned US taxes on European steel and aluminium.

The European Union wants to be exempted from US duties of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium that Trump approved last week. US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom meet next week to discuss the issue.

The European Commission, which co-ordinates trade policy for the 28 EU members, has said that, if the EU is not exempted, it should set duties of 25 per cent on a range of US products imported by the EU.

The 10-page list of products the EU may subject to tariffs ranges from rice to orange juice, make-up, motorcycles, motor boats and stainless sinks. It also includes many metals products for use in construction and industry.

Some of the products, worth 2.8 billion euros ($A4.4 billion) annually, could be subject to duties within months. The EU says the US cannot use national security as a justification for its metals tariffs, which means Europe can respond with “rebalancing” measures.

“We feel we are on very strong legal grounds,” an EU official said on Friday.

A second group of products would only incur duties if the WTO later declared the US tariffs illegal or after a period of three years.

The two product sets combined would aim to counter-balance the damage of US measures to the bloc’s 6.4 billion euros of aluminium and steel exports to the US.

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