Monday, 18 June, 2018

USA trade tensions at fever pitch as steel deadline looms

Trump to hit EU, Canada and Mexico with steel and aluminium tariffs Trump slaps steel tariffs on closest allies as tensions rise
Cristina Norman | 31 May, 2018, 21:58

Canada and Mexico also rejected the White House's suggestion of linking tariff relief to the outcome of ongoing talks to revamp NAFTA.

Trump is also considering hefty tariffs on automobiles and a slew of Chinese imports, and struggling to renegotiate the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico. Negotiations with Europe have "made some progress" but not enough to merit an exemption, he added.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the European Union would give a "smart, determined and jointly agreed" response to new United States tariffs that she said would break World Trade Organization rules.

"It's entirely up to U.S authorities whether they want to enter into a trade conflict with their biggest partner, Europe", Le Maire told reporters after the meeting.

US stocks fell on Thursday after the United States moved to impose metal tariffs on imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, prompting a tit-for-tat response from some of its trading partners. A number of countries as well as the European Union were exempted first until May 1 and then for one more month until June 1, the deadline which was due to expire tomorrow.

But Ross said Thursday that those talks "are taking longer than we hoped".

The EU said on Thursday it will impose retaliatory duties, a measure the bloc earlier indicated would target US$3.3 billion in American products from Harley-Davidson Inc. motorcycles to Levi Strauss & Co.'s jeans as well as bourbon whiskey. The president first unveiled these trade measures in early March, but had initially provided exemptions to the European Union and America's northern and southern neighbors.

Stocks in the U.S. fell as the administration ignored the pleas from business lobbying groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to forego tariffs. But the broader market sank because of trade war fears.

Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community, the steelworkers' union, said steelworkers on both sides of the Atlantic had been let down by their governments. The U.S. negotiating stance on China trade became more chaotic on Wednesday, as Trump trade advisor Peter Navarro called Mnuchin's comments an "unfortunate soundbite".

'But they can also increase costs more broadly for USA manufacturers who cannot source all their needs locally and have to import the materials. "We are ready to rebuild this multilateralism with our American friends".

Previously the list of likely counter measures had included tariffs on politically sensitive United States imports such bourbon whisky and Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Likely targets are thought to be US exports of jeans, motorcycles and bourbon. That hurts the companies and can lead to more expensive consumer prices, economists say.

"This is a bad day for world trade", he said in response.

In a clear reference to Trump, Macron added: "These solutions might bring symbolic satisfaction in the short term".

More than 60 percent of USA auto imports - an industry that closely binds U.S. and Canadian manufacturing - come from G7 countries, as well as more than 50 percent of aluminium imports and almost 36 percent of steel.

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