Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Mnuchin: US in talks with countries seeking tariff exemptions

Mnuchin: US in talks with countries seeking tariff exemptions

But Trump also said that Cohn was a "nationalist" in his own way because "he loves our country".

The update came as congressional Republicans and business groups braced for the impact of expected tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum, appearing resigned to additional protectionist trade actions as Trump signaled upcoming economic battles with China. Even if the WTO panel rules after that time that Trump's tariffs are illegal, Trump administration officials indicated a year ago that they may not care that much.

The White House said Wednesday that Mexico, Canada and other countries may be spared from tariffs under national security "carve-outs". Instead, they're intermediate goods, basically used as inputs to other USA manufacturing sectors.

The EU considers itself to be caught in the crossfire of a trade dispute, in which Trump has mainly singled out China for being unfair in its commercial deals. But they've stalled over tough US demands, including the administration's insistence that more auto production be shifted to America.

Trump signed two proclamations that levied a 25 per cent tariff on steel and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminium imported from all countries except Canada and Mexico.

He said the blanket imposition of the tariff on the U.S.' historic allies, Canada and Europe, "is a real invitation to a significant commercial trade conflict that will serve no one".

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.

Trump predicted the former Goldman Sachs executive would eventually return to his administration.

He has ordered steep new tariffs on those imports to the U.S.

Mnuchin added that exemptions for specific products would be decided by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

"We can expect retaliatory measures elsewhere in the world that will destabilize market equilibrium".

"Steelcase strongly supports measures to ensure a fair and level playing field, and is willing to work with other companies and government officials to reach that goal". These measures could be supplemented by restrictions on Chinese investment into the US, which have come into question lately on the grounds of national-security risks, such as with Chinese phone-maker Huawei.

Adding to the administration's angst about trade fairness, the USA trade deficit widened more than forecast in January to a post-recession high.

McKenna also believes it's not just trade uncertainty hurting Western Canada, but a flawed regulatory system. That scenario, Tom Donohue said, would endanger the economic momentum from the GOP tax cuts and Trump's rollback of regulations.

Q: When do the tariffs take effect?

"Remember, we're the biggest supplier of steel to the USA but we're also the biggest buyer of their steel and we also have to remember that if you get higher steel and aluminum prices in the United States, you're going to have big job losses from industries that use aluminum and steel".

The president suggested earlier Thursday he would provide temporary exemptions for Canada and Mexico as he aims to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement.

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