Trump has not mentioned exemptions to steel tariffs: U.S. commerce secretary

Marcus Newton
March 5, 2018

Navarro and Ross, who have advocated stronger trade policies to reduce U.S. trade imbalances, went on Sunday U.S. television news shows to try to contain the global fallout from Trump's announcement.

Trump has spoken to multiple world leaders about the plan, which has roiled American allies and caused stocks to plunge after it was announced, Ross said.

Numerous world leaders and ministers have been in touch with Trump and US officials including Ross, suggesting an intensive behind-the-scenes effort to change the president's mind, the commerce secretary said.

Numerous world leaders and ministers have been in touch with Mr Trump and USA officials including Mr Ross, suggesting an intensive behind-the-scenes effort to change the president's mind, the commerce secretary said.

"Any new broad-based tariffs on imported tin plate steel - an insufficient amount of which is produced in the USA - will result in higher prices on one of the safest and more affordable parts of the food supply".

"We shall see. We shall see". I know that a lot of ministers from a lot of countries have been talking with the president. They have been talking with me. They've been talking with others", he said on NBC's "Meet the Press" program "We'll see. Attention now falls on what his final decision on the tariffs is going to look like.

Peter Navarro, a top White House trade advisor, said the administration would consider exemptions on a case-by-case basis but "no country exclusions". "As soon as you exempt one country, then you have to exempt another country and so it's a slippery slope", he said on CNN's "State of the Union". "They flood the world market with this product and that ripples down to our shores and to other countries", he said. He said it might affect an individual producer for a little while, but for the size of the USA economy that's a tiny fraction.

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"The notion that it would destroy a lot of jobs, raise prices, disrupt things, is wrong", Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on ABC's "This Week".

Josh Bolten, chief executive officer of the influential Business Roundtable and former chief of staff to President George W. Bush, described the tariffs as "a huge mistake" on the "Fox News Sunday" program.

The commerce secretary dismissed European Union threats of retaliatory tariffs on flagship American products, including Harley Davidson motorcycles, bourbon and Levi's jeans, calling the $3 billion in affected goods a "pretty trivial" amount.

A number of Republicans, including congressional leaders, urged Mr Trump to hold back on the tariffs. "We believe that tariffs could cause a pretty significant increase in the price of steel on the USA market", Electrolux spokesman Daniel Frykholm said. He said he would introduce a tariff of 25 percent on steel and ten percent on aluminum imports.

"You are letting China off the hook".

"The American people are willing to pay a cent and a half more for a six pack of beer in order to have an aluminum and steel industry", he told "Face the Nation".

At North American trade talks in Mexico City, Republican Representative Kevin Brady, the top USA lawmaker on trade policy, said the administration should exempt current aluminium and steel contracts to avoid business uncertainty.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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