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            march 24, 2019

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Trump slaps US tariffs on steel and aluminum to come into force in 15 days


US President Donald Trump has authorised global tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum, which will take effect March 23.
However, steel and aluminum imports from Mexico and Canada will be exempted from the trade remedies, pending a successful result of the ongoing renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), American Shipper reported.
"The actions we're taking today are not a matter of choice, they're a matter of necessity for our national security," Mr Trump said.
The US President ordered the tariffs pursuant to separate Commerce Department-led investigations into the national security impacts of steel and aluminum imports.
The reviews were enabled by Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, a provision that allows the President to take remedial action if imports are found to endanger US national security.
To be sure, Mr Trump said the US would be open to modifying or eliminating tariffs on steel and aluminum from certain nations that can "guarantee" that the US won't be harmed by unfair trade practices, including dumping.
The executive branch also intends to impose a separate "mirror tax" on countries that charge exorbitant tariffs on US goods, Mr Trump said, citing China and India as examples, stopping short of committing to any specific, immediate action on the matter.
"We're going to be doing a lot of that," Mr Trump said of the reciprocal tariff concept.
Initial reactions of Congressional Republicans tilted positive, with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, Repulican Texas, and Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Dave Reichert, Repulican, Washington, saying in a statement that Mr Trump heeded their call to steer clear of full-scale global tariffs, yet called for the administration to narrow the tariffs even further.
"Clearly President Trump has listened to Congress and job-creators all over America by improving the original proposal to create a path to allow fairly traded steel and aluminum to be excluded country-by-country and business-by-business," Mr Brady said. "Exempting Canada and Mexico is a good first step, and I urge the White House to go further to narrow these tariffs so they hit the intended target - and not US workers, businesses and families."
However, the Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) - a marine cargo operating partnership of the ports of Tacoma and Seattle - was not so pleased with Mr Trump signing off on the tariffs. The NWSA said the tariffs "could lead to broad negative economic consequences for Washington state," and how "many trade experts also are raising concerns that the new US tariffs on imports could lead to retaliatory tariffs on US exports."
The European Commission recently outlined a plan to counter US trade restrictions on steel and aluminum imports. Comissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom said the tariffs would hurt the European Union, putting thousands of European jobs in jeopardy.

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