On March 1, Trump had announced that he would impose 25 per cent import tariff on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium to protect United States producers, a move that invited criticism from China and the Europe which said it could trigger a trade war.
Other world leaders expressed hope that deals would be made with the Trump administration to avoid tit-for-tat tariffs.
What economic thinking went into the Trump tariffs announced last week? "These measures could make a significant impact on the economic and cooperative relationship between Japan and the USA, who are allies", said Japan's foreign minister, Taro Kono.
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The lobbying found a mostly receptive audience: the US military strongly resisted tariffs against allies, and 107 congressional Republicans released a letter this week to express their alarm over the move.
Says Trump, "It's really an assault on our country". He said it was only upon careful calculation of import effects that the numbers landed at 25 per cent and 10 per cent. He says American manufacturers need to be protected on national security grounds.
"While our objective is not to get into a trade war, we are going to defend the USA interests", Mnuchin said during an appearance at JetBlue's Queens headquarters. These measures could be supplemented by restrictions on Chinese investment into the USA, which have come into question lately on the grounds of national-security risks, such as with Chinese phone-maker Huawei.
Mnuchin said the US isn't trying to provoke a trade war with the steel and aluminum tariffs, an action that he backed.
Economists aren't sure whether the tariffs are legal. "This overhang of excess capacity means that USA steel producers, for the foreseeable future, will face increasing competition from imported steel as other countries export more steel to the United States to bolster their own economic objectives and offset loss of markets to Chinese steel exports".
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Canada and Mexico were already granted exemptions, although Trump has hinted that he will cancel them if NAFTA renegotiation talks don't make progress soon.
"We're going to build our steel industry back".
The source who works at a service center that supplies the auto sector in the United States and Canada said he is purchasing more steel products from mills in both countries. Commerce recommended a global steel tariff of at least 24% and a global aluminum tariff of 7.7%.
He said the tariffs would also hurt the US auto industry and result in higher costs for consumers on both sides of the border.
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters the exemptions would be made on a "case by case" and "country by country" basis, a reversal from the policy articulated by the White House just days ago that there would be no exemptions from Trump's plan. Major Asian nations reacted sharply to Trump's decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, warning of damage to close relations amid industry calls for retaliation.
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