Donald Trump says he's working on deal with Australia for tariff exemption

Posted March 12, 2018

"There is literally nothing to be gained in the imposing a tariff", Malcolm Turnbull said during a speech at the Financial Review Business Summit in Sydney.

"We will be making a decision as to who they are - we have a very close relationship with Australia", he said.

Following Mr Trump's lead in the Twittersphere, Malcolm Turnbull showed his gratitude for the allegiance.

Trump signed off on the tariff's today as other Pacific nations signed CPTPP without the US. "He is committed to having a very fair and reciprocal military and trade relationship", Trump said on Friday.

There were no strings attached to the settlement, the PM said.

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Bishop also reported that she had contacted several NY businessmen who are close to the Trump empire, to lobby against Trump's steel tariffs.

The news comes after Trump yesterday used his executive powers to apply tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent to aluminium but said there would be a 15 day window for nations to make an appeal for exemptions.

The tariffs are due to take effect within weeks.

He has already said that Mexico and Canada will be exempt.

The New York Times reported U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer will be in charge of deciding which countries benefit from an exemption.

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It was similar to language in the tariff order, reported by The New York Times, which declared United States allies had to find "alternative ways to address the threatened impairment of the national security caused by imports from that country" if they wanted to negotiate an exemption to the tariffs.

The change of heart follows intensive lobbying in Washington and NY, including efforts by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Trade Minister Steve Ciobo and U.S. ambassador Joe Hockey, as well as intermediaries in the business world.

Mr Trump refers to Australia as his ally, and a great nation.

"I've seen some, frankly, incredibly wild theories emanating from all quarters including some journalists who should know better", he told ABC TV on Sunday.

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