Republicans in key midterm races caution against Trump's new tariffs

Randal Sanchez
May 31, 2018

After failing to win concessions from the European Union, tariffs are likely to be imposed on European steel and aluminium imports by the Donald Trump administration, reported Reuters.

A Commerce Department investigation earlier this year determined a need to ensure adequate USA steel production capacity to supply the military.

The US has announced plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium from the European Union starting at midnight.

Trump in March imposed 25 per cent duties on imported steel and 10 per cent on aluminum, but he gave temporary reprieve to a handful of allies for further talks to take place.

Shares of American steel companies Steel Dynamics, AK Steel and US Steel gained between 3.4 percent and 7.4 percent and aluminum producer Alcoa surged 3.4 percent.

She called the USA measures illegal and counterproductive, and both she and Trudeau expressed how hard it is to imagine how Canada could ever be a national-security threat to an ally as close and important as the United States.

The U.S. duties are being imposed under Section 232 of the U.S. Trade Expansion Act, which pertains to national security.

With those 30 days now elapsed, the administration has this time gone the other direction and removed the exemptions.

Both Mexico and the European Union announced retaliatory tariffs in response to Trump's announcement, with Mexico promising to slap taxes on American steel products, pork and various agriculture, and the European Union imposing taxes on imported American bourbon, jeans and motorcycles, among other products.

Militants attack Afghan ministry with bomb, grenades and gunfire
There have also been numerous attacks on government buildings and at police checkpoints. Danish said one police officer had been killed and five civilians wounded.

"It's not everyone attacking the other and we see who remains standing at the end", he said, declaring that the stiff taxes would be "unjustified, unjustifiable and dangerous". The president added a caveat that countries could discuss with the U.S. Neither Canada nor Mexico seems close to accepting a key USA demand on imposing a "sunset clause", and the requirement of a minimal level of North American content for automobiles to qualify for preferential tariffs.

But European officials are increasingly irritated by Trump's aggressive use of obscure provisions in USA trade laws against US allies. European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, seemingly flippantly, identified Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Kentucky bourbon and Levi's jeans in particular in a German TV interview.

The UK government's spokesperson stated that Britain and other European Union countries are close allies of the USA and thus should be "permanently and fully exempted" from the United States metal tariffs. The U.S. said the exemptions granted Canada and Mexico were linked to the ongoing NAFTA negotiations. Now the tariffs on Canada, Europe and Mexico will take effect Friday morning.

Dow Jones components Boeing (BA) and Caterpillar (CAT), heavy steel users vulnerable in a trade war, fell more than 1%.

"What they can do, we're able to do exactly the same", he said.

On CTV News Channel, Aluminum Association of Canada Chief Executive Jean Simard called the USA move "unfortunate", and also called the national security argument a "non-issue", explaining that the two countries are highly integrated when it comes to defence supply. Unilateral responses and threats over trade war will solve nothing of the serious imbalances in the world trade.

The tariffs, which apply to a long list of US products that includes everything from flat-rolled steel to playing cards and felt-tipped pens, will go into effect July 1, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told a news conference Thursday. "There is a feeling that if we respond too strongly, this will escalate, and that would damage everyone, but Europe would damaged most of all".

After months in which it appeared the Trump administration had been backing away from tariffs amid infighting between the president's top economic advisers, Washington has over the past week ramped up its threats on trade.

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