Trump delays steel, aluminium tariffs for Canada, Mexico, EU

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Washington, May 1 (IANS) US President Donald Trump has announced he will again postpone imposing tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Canada, Mexico and the EU for another 30 days, giving key allies a reprieve.

The move on Monday gave key trading partners — and three of Washington’s four largest trading partners time till June 1 to reach a deal with the Trump administration to avoid duties of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium exports sent to the US.

The tariffs were slated to go into effect on Tuesday if Trump had not moved to extend the deadline, the US media reported.

The administration has also reached preliminary agreements with three other countries that had initially been granted a temporary exemption — Argentina, Brazil and Australia — allowing them to escape the duties as details get finalized over the next 30 days, the White House was cited as saying by the New York Times.

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Trump said he would consider reimposing the tariffs if the agreements were not finalized “shortly”.

“In all of these negotiations, the administration is focused on quotas that will restrain imports, prevent transshipment and protect the national security,” the White House said in a statement.

It said it also “reached a final agreement with South Korea on steel imports”, which were part of the administration’s renegotiation of the US-South Korea free trade agreement, CNN reported.

The decision came days after French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel personally lobbied Trump in Washington last week not to bring the steel and aluminium tariffs down on the EU.

The prolonged exemptions for Canada and Mexico came as the Trump administration was working to renegotiate the North America Free Trade Agreement among the three countries.

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The EU, which has been a vocal critic of the tariffs, threatened $3.5 billion in retaliatory tariffs on jeans, motorcycles, cranberries and orange juice if Trump follows through with metals tariffs.

Trump’s trade team is heading to Beijing this week to try to work out an agreement with China’s leaders over another round of proposed tariffs.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross earlier said that the nations seeking waivers were asked to agree to impose quotas on steel and aluminium in exchange for getting a permanent break from tariffs.

In a statement late Monday, the British government called the move “positive” and that it would work with American and EU negotiators for a permanent exemption.

–IANS

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