Amid ongoing trade stalemates with NAFTA and the EU, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has announced the U.S. Commerce Department will no longer provide exemptions for the European Union, Canada or Mexico.
As anticipated, during a telephone briefing with reporters Secretary Ross announced at midnight tonight the 25% steel, and 10% aluminum, tariffs on imported goods will begin.
Via Reuters: U.S Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told reporters on a telephone briefing that a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports from the EU, Canada and Mexico would go into effect at midnight (0400 GMT on Friday).
“We look forward to continued negotiations, both with Canada and Mexico on the one hand, and with the European Commission on the other hand, because there are other issues that we also need to get resolved,” he said.
Ross offered little detail about what the EU, Canada and Mexico could do to have the tariffs lifted. (link)
The imposition of the import tariffs will likely break the impasse on current trade negotiations with multiple countries as they will now move to try and get their products exempted.
Australia, Brazil and South Korea (KORUS) have completed trade agreements with the U.S. and will remain exempt from any countervailing steel and aluminum duty. Japan is close to signing a similar trade agreement. However, Canada and Mexico (NAFTA), as well as the EU, have been unwilling to reach reciprocal and balanced trade agreements with the U.S. and will now be subject to the tariff.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce representing Wall Street multinational interests will likely go bananas. Those DC politicians who are fully purchased by the U.S. CoC lobbyists will likely attack the administration….. all predictable.
(Via NBC) […] The European Commission fired back at the White House’s trade decision with a lawsuit, saying the E.U. “stands now ready to react to the U.S. trade restrictions on steel and aluminum in a swift, firm, proportionate and fully WTO-compatible manner. The E.U. will launch legal proceedings against the U.S. in the WTO on 1 June. The level of tariffs to be applied will reflect the damage caused by the new U.S. trade restrictions on E.U. products.”
Mexico’s Ministry of Economy released a statement saying “Mexico deeply regrets and rejects the decision of the United States to impose these tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from Mexico as of June 1, under the criterion of national security. Mexico will impose equivalent measures to various products in the face of U.S. protectionist measures.”
[…] “These tariffs are totally unacceptable,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a press conference Thursday afternoon. “Over the past 150 years, Canada has been the most steadfast ally. The idea that Canada could be considered a national security threat to the United States is inconceivable.”
Starting July 1, Canada will levy “dollar-for-dollar” tariffs on a selection of American-made goods, said Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, announcing that the government had drawn up two lists of products that would be subject to either 25 percent or 10 percent taxation, until the U.S. changed its position. (read more)