Germany expects permanent European Union exemption from U.S. tariffs

Posted May 05, 2018

The Australian Steel Institute (ASI) welcomes the announcement that USA has confirmed the continuation with tariff exemptions for Australian steel and aluminum producers. But it made a decision to limit the delay to 30 days.

Metals markets were steady on Tuesday and aluminum prices were little changed.

Still, "I wouldn't be going all the way over there if I didn't think there was some hope", he said in an interview with CNBC.

Europe - which previous year exported over $7.7 billion of steel and aluminium to the U.S. market - had lined up its own punitive tariffs on American imports, including iconic items like Harley-Davidson motorbikes, blue jeans and bourbon whiskey. Now, in his rush to address what he sees as an imbalance between China and the USA, he risks creating problems for a sector of the American economy where a trade surplus has been the norm for decades.

Amid widespread dissent in business groups and trading partners around the world, Trump in March signed proclamations to impose tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum, which took effect on March 23. Canada, Mexico, Brazil, the EU, Australia and Argentina were granted temporary exemptions at that time.

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Separately, the United States has reached a deal with South Korea, which agreed to limit steel shipments to the U.S.in exchange for being spared the tariffs.

On March 23, Trump had imposed massive trade tariffs amounting to Dollars 60 billion on China, in an effort to stop the latter from stealing "intellectual property" from American companies.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom would continue talks with U.S counterparts, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the Commission said.

However, the European Union officials expressed their dissatisfaction as the USA didn't grant permanent exception on steel and aluminium tariffs while managed to reach an agreement with Argentina, Brazil and Australia.

Morgan Newfield analysts say the White House has also chose to extend discussions with Canada, the European Union and Mexico for another 30 days. Among other things, Trump wants to see more auto production moved to the United States.

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Extensions for Canada and Mexico had been expected, as Mexico City, Ottawa and Washington work on revamping the North American Free Trade Agreement. The European Commission prizes deliberation and procedure, while the Trump administration shows a penchant for ad hoc decision-making, exemplified by its announcing the latest reprieve just hours before the deadline.

Colorado-based Qualtek Manufacturing Inc., a steel and aluminum fabricator for the aerospace and medical industries, is facing that exact uncertainty owing to the tariffs. The Swedish appliance maker Electrolux in March postponed plans to modernize a plant in Springfield, Tennessee.

China, Japan and Russian Federation have not received exemptions from the tariffs. As of today, however, the US has reached a deal with two of the top three sources of foreign steel: Brazil (in principle) and South Korea.

"We should rather focus on a positive trade agenda", said Jyrki Katainen, a commission vice president also responsible for trade, in a tweet Tuesday.

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