Trump set to authorize steel, aluminum tariffs on Thursday

Trump is expected to sign a presidential proclamation establishing the tariffs during a ceremony scheduled for 3:30 p.m. (2030 GMT) on Thursday, a source familiar with the situation said.

The tariffs are expected to include some sort of temporary exemptions for Canada and Mexico.

"The process to negotiate a modernized NAFTA continues its course, independent of the (metal tariffs) or any other internal policy measure that the government of the United States takes", the Mexican statement said.

Canada is the biggest source of USA steel imports, while Mexico is in the top five, meaning a significant share of imports will be exempt from the tariffs.

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Trump said on Monday that Canada and Mexico would only be excluded after the successful renegotiation of NAFTA.

The Canadian dollar was trading at 77.27 cents USA, up from an average price of 77.24 cents US on Wednesday.

The tariffs would impose a duty of 25 percent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum to counter cheap imports, especially from China, that he says undermine USA industry and jobs.

The looming departure of White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive who has opposed the promised tariffs, set off anxiety among business leaders and investors anxious about a potential trade war.

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Trump said on Twitter he looks forward to the meeting, tweeting, "We have to protect & build our Steel and Aluminum Industries while at the same time showing great flexibility and cooperation toward those that are real friends and treat us fairly on both trade and the military". Iowa's congressional delegation, including two Republican senators, wrote to Trump expressing concern that the tariffs would hit the state's farmers.

"If he doesn't see that there's room to maneuver, he'll create some", said Bozell, president of For America, a conservative grassroots political group. United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard had voiced opposition to tariffs on Canada, whose steel and aluminum industries are fully integrated with those of the United States and where workers are represented by the Pittsburgh-based union.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tells Breakfast Television Toronto that he'll be waiting to see the details. The strings Trump attached to his tariff exemption could tie down an elephant.

"A large number of US manufacturers use imported steel and aluminum to produce items such as appliances, autos and beverage cans", he told Xinhua.

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