March 18, 2018

Trump threatens new tax on cars from European Union in angry tweet

05 March 2018, 10:43 | Santos West

May voices tariff worry to Trump

Trump escalates trade war, threatens European carmakers with stiff tariffs

Canada's steel sector could be wounded by US tariffs even if the country is exempt from the 25 percent duty promised by President Donald Trump, as cheap steel previously sold south of the border floods into Canada, industry leaders said on Friday.

The protectionist policy will be made official in the next two weeks, White House officials said Sunday, as the administration defended the decision from critics in Washington and overseas. It is a - the opening salvo to what could be a trade war.

President Donald Trump's secretary of commerce dismissed criticism that proposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum would lead to a loss of and price hikes for consumers. "Should restrictions be imposed on Canadian steel and aluminum products, Canada will take responsive measures to defend its trade interests and workers".

Trump is expected to finalize the tariffs - 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum - later in the week, posing a tough challenge for U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo.

While the signs at this stage are not particularly encouraging, Australia's best hope lies in pushing for exemptions for its products and trying to convince the United States that protectionist policies, while attractive to industry in the short term, will ultimately make America less competitive and harm its own economy.

There was no indication that Trump was considering lower tariffs or exemptions for any country, Ross added.

Mr Juncker said: "We would like a reasonable relationship to the United States, but we can not simply put our head in the sand". White House trade adviser Peter Navarro told CNN Sunday that no country will be excluded from the tariffs.

Theresa May has told Donald Trump of her "deep concern" over his plans to introduce tariffs on United States steel and aluminium imports.

Graham tells CBS' "Face the Nation" that Trump is picking a fight with American allies in Europe in a way that plays into China's hands.

Other industry players said that, notwithstanding the verbal broadsides of Mr. Navarro and Mr. Trump, there was still hope.

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"The U.S. oil and natural gas industry, in particular, relies on specialty steel for many of its projects that most U.S. steelmakers don't supply", American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard said last week.

Suspecting that these new tariffs - by potentially dipping into the disposable income of USA consumers - could also create some trickle-down effects on footwear, Matt Priest, president and CEO of the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America, was critical of the potential order.

- Trump responds to the EU's retaliation threat by promising to slap a new tax on European cars.

"And in this case, he made the decision to go with 25 percent tariffs on steel, 10 percent on aluminum across the board with no country exclusions", Navarro said.

Canada, the single largest supplier of both steel and aluminum to the United States, says any tariffs would be totally unacceptable.

Is Trump right about the trade imbalance?

But the general response from Trump officials was that everyone should prepare for tariffs. But Ross says, "As far as I know he's talking about a fairly broad brush".

The Business Roundtable's Josh Bolten, a chief of staff for President George W. Bush, called on Trump to have "the courage" to step back from his campaign rhetoric on trade.

"As soon as he starts exempting countries, he has to raise the tariff on everybody else", Navarro said in a separate interview on Fox News Sunday.

Australia's major steel exporter BlueScope might also get favourable treatment because it has a substantial presence in the United States and sends steel from Port Kembla to its manufacturing plant in California.

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