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Trump to remove tariff exemption from EU, Canada, Mexico

31 May 2018

US President Donald Trump promised to impose tariffs, claiming trade across the Atlantic was a one-way street.

The White House announced that it would end a two-month exemption for the EU, Canada and Mexico from the 25% steel and 10% aluminum import tariffs announced in March, once again pointing to national security concerns as a primary motivating factor. But Daniel Caspary, the head of her center-right party's faction in the European Parliament, did little to hide his displeasure, writing on Twitter that Trump's move "will hurt the United States, the EU and the transatlantic relationship".

The Mexican measures will be in place until the USA government eliminates its tariffs, the ministry said. "I have argued for the European Union and the United States to engage in a positive trans-Atlantic trade agenda, and for the European Union to be fully, permanently and unconditionally exempted from these tariffs".

"This is protectionism, pure and simple", said Jean-Claude Junker, president of the European Commission.

Trump's announcement lifted American steel and aluminum stocks because those companies stand to benefit from penalties against their foreign competitors.

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The tariffs were introduced by the US President in response to the markets being flooded by cheap Chinese steel which has endangered the competitiveness of the industry in the West.

During a conference call early Thursday, Ross shrugged off questions about the USA facing possible retaliation, or whether the move would negatively affect the G7 meeting.

Washington exempted Canada and Mexico from the tariffs while negotiations continue to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement, and South Korea agreed to quotas instead of tariffs.

Although the US market amounts to a low single-digit percentage of German steel industry output, German politicians and industry groups have said they are concerned that tit-for-tat measures could end in damaging tariffs on foreign automobiles, an outcome that Trump has repeatedly threatened.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said in a statement late Wednesday that Canada has expanded the scope of its country of origin marking regime for steel and aluminum products to better determine where they come from. "The fact that we took a tariff action does not mean there can not be a negotiation".

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US President Donald Trump is to press forward with tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from key trading partners including the EU, Canada and Mexico.

Despite media speculations that the United States could possibly introduce long-term exemptions from the tariffs for its close allies, Trump has opted for moving ahead with steel and aluminium duties.

Prior to Ross's announcement, a senior Canadian official, speaking on condition of anonymity citing the sensitivity of the situation, confirmed Canada has prepared a list of USA products that might face retaliatory tariffs, but declined to give further details.

Such an action could hurt Mexico, Canada, Germany and Japan. He offered little detail about what the EU, Canada and Mexico could do to have the tariffs lifted.

'We think on the contrary that global trade must have rules in a context of multilateralism.

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Trade Commissioner Cecilia Maelstrom said: "The US has sought to use the threat of trade restrictions as leverage to obtain concessions from the EU".

Trump to remove tariff exemption from EU, Canada, Mexico