Trump says Wilbur Ross, EU to discuss tariffs, trade barriers

Angelo Anderson
March 13, 2018

Donald Trump has said his commerce secretary will be talking to the European Union about tariffs the U.S. president argues have been unfair to America.

Turnbull's tweet followed a similar post from Trump that indicated the USA ally would be spared from the 25% duties on foreign steel and 10% duties on foreign aluminium that Trumped signed into law on Thursday March 8.

Top US and European Union trade officials meeting in Brussels Saturday failed to overcome their differences, but Malmstroem said talks would continue this week.

The article reported that foreign leaders said the tariffs will put their citizens out of work and suggested a trade war will ensue. "We have given them more money", he said. That will be hard according to people actually watching the negotiations as Trump's trade team, led by trade czar Robert Lighthizer and commerce chief Wilbur Ross, are asking for things that Canada and Mexico would never give.

Labor finance spokesman Jim Chalmers says steel destined for the USA from other countries will now be dumped below cost in Australia.

The March 9 front-page article "U.S. allies express confusion, anger and frustration" said European officials "made the rounds of congressional offices" and couldn't find anyone who thought President Trump was right to implement the tariffs.

Trump announced the talks on Twitter as a burgeoning trade row over new United States tariffs on steel and aluminum heated up over the weekend.

But Canada has been taking a hard line against Trump in disputes regarding Canadian lumber exports and USA dairy exports.

Sal Guatieri, economist at BMO, said USA consumers will feel the pinch as manufacturers pass on the higher costs of production materials. Steel prices have also been on the rise. "Industries, such as fabricated metals that operate at capacity, will likely pass along the cost increase, cramping spending power", he said in a note.

He said other countries could be spared the tariffs if they can convince the USA government that their steel and aluminum exports don't threaten American industry. "Sure, they won't stop driving, but they will have less money to spend on other stuff". But it will hurt firms which export pipes and tubes besides stainless steel, which account for 34 per cent of the steel exports to the US.

Even if USA manufacturers increased their output of the two metals, it would add only 0.05 per cent to GDP, according to Guatieri.

Earlier Mr Turnbull had ruled out Australia joining an global revolt against the steel tariff or a 10 per cent tariff on aluminium.

'If they drop their horrific barriers & tariffs on USA products going in, we will likewise drop ours, ' he pledged in a tweet.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin earlier said he expects countries in addition to Mexico and Canada to be exempted in the next couple of weeks.

His tweet echoed comments this past weekend, when he said Europe has "wonderful countries who treat the US very badly on trade". Other nations, like Japan, South Korea and Brazil have also called for similar treatment. It's a law passed in 1962 that allows tariffs to be imposed by the president when imports are deemed to be damaging to USA national security.

Data last week showed that the US trade deficit had jumped to an over nine-year high in January, with the country's shortfall with China widening sharply.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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