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U.S. delays steel, aluminum tariffs until June

03 May 2018

President Trump's exemptions to steel and aluminium tariffs provided to major trading partners including Australia, the European Union, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and South Korea are due to expire on May 1.

Mere hours before temporary exemptions for certain USA allies were set to expire, the Trump administration Monday postponed new, wide-reaching import tariffs on aluminum and steel used in new cars. Navarro said those agreements will be "finalized shortly".

Trump administration officials have said that in lieu of tariffs, steel-and aluminium-exporting countries would have to agree to quotas created to achieve similar protections for U.S. producers.

Regional iron and steel industry leaders say they are disappointed by the Trump administration's delay on a decision about which countries will face new import tariffs.

Trump had also called for a revised NAFTA deal as he offered to drop the 25 percent tariffs on steel and aluminum in return for the stricter NAFTA.

And Bernd Lange, the chair of the European Parliament trade committee, said: "We must come to terms with the fact that the United States are no longer a reliable partner".

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Tariff-related uncertainties may last another one or two months and will probably "work itself out", said Timothy Fiore, chairman of the factory survey for the Tempe, Ariz. -based Institute for Supply Management.

His administration says it is giving trade negotiators 30 more days to work out a deal. Since then, South Korea has revised aspects of its free-trade agreement with the USA in exchange for a permanent exemption.

"As the Prime Minister said today, we remain confident that the USA administration understands that tariffs would hurt American jobs as much as they would Canadian jobs", said Adam Austen, a spokesman for Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. Ross said he'll continue speaking with European Union trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom, which they've done almost every day since the tariffs were announced.

Brazil accounts for 56 percent of the tire-grade steel imported into the U.S., while Korea is the source of another 8 percent, according to the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association.

Meanwhile, French finance and foreign ministries on Tuesday said in a joint statement that "We agree that there is a problem of overcapacity in steel and aluminum". America's two Nafta partners won't receive further extensions after the June 1 deadline, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro told a conference in Washington on Tuesday.

While the threats against Europe and other countries over steel and aluminium are under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, the measures against China are being taken under section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act.

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In her meeting with Trump, Merkel said, she saw little progress in obtaining permanent exemptions.

The U.S. Trade Representative's Office also accuses Beijing of often making access to key Chinese markets conditional upon tacit agreements that American companies transfer technology and other IP to Chinese partners, which Beijing denies.

With the extension leaving the door open to more permanent arrangements, shares in USA steelmakers dropped Tuesday.

"The U.S. decision prolongs market uncertainty, which is already affecting business decisions", the EC said.

Domestically, the tariff postponement announcement was received positively by President Donald Trump's fellow Republicans, many of whom raised alarms after they were initially announced, saying they could spur a trade war and threaten American jobs.

The talks, which will be led by Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, stem from Mr. Trump's aggressive moves on trade, including ordering tariffs on $150 billion worth of Chinese goods.

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U.S. delays steel, aluminum tariffs until June