United States allies line up for exemptions from Trump's aluminum, steel tariffs

Gary Cohn director of the National Economic Council said late Tuesday he would resign after he lost a fight over tariffs

The president said that the tariffs would counter the cheaper metals coming into the United States which he said were destroying the country's domestic steel and aluminum industries. With Trump taking office, as in the case of him canceling the process regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) believing that they have no benefits to the US, he forced Canada and Mexico to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). "Exclusions will add reams to the tariff code that US businesses will struggle to navigate". Employment in the USA auto industry will suffer from Trump's tariffs to a vastly greater degree than it could possibly benefit in the US steel industry.

Talk of tariffs on aluminum and steel has captivated conversation in the nation's capital ever since Trump tweeted that "trade wars are good, and easy to win" earlier this month.

Malmstrom told reporters the European Union was ready to complain to the World Trade Organization and retaliate within 90 days.

In announcing a 25 per cent tariff on steel and 10 per cent levy on aluminum Thursday, the USA president exempted Canada and Mexico "at least at this time" and cited close ties between the three nations.

During the nearly 10 years since the global financial crisis of 2008, it is obvious that a currency war is being experienced between countries with substantial weight in global competition such as the U.S., EU, Japan and China over the expansionary monetary policies of the central banks.

NAFTA's legal structure, which offers its members tariff-free access to each other's markets, was a major complication in applying the tariffs to Canada and Mexico, according to a prominent Washington trade lobbyist, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

European industry associations called on Malmstrom to react to the tariffs. China accounts for only a small fraction of USA steel imports, but its rapid rise to produce half the world's steel has helped create a global glut that has driven down prices.

Hardt called the U.S. decision a "blow to transatlantic economic ties" and criticised U.S. President Donald Trump for seeking answers to U.S. economic problems overseas.

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Beijing vowed to "firmly defend its legitimate rights and interests".

Japan's government has warned that new US steel tariffs could hurt its economic relations with the United States.

China warned it was "firmly opposed" to Donald Trump's plans and dubbed them a "serious attack on normal worldwide trade order".

For the G20 countries also including Turkey, worldwide trade agreements include as much opportunities as challenges. In fact, we have been fighting to protect a particular type of steel used in our PolyVision products for more than two years - and won an exclusion from tariffs last year.

Republican congressional sources said Ryan and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady had been pressing Trump all week to avoid across-the-board steel and aluminum tariffs that would hurt US allies, and were working to suggest ways to narrow the tariffs further.

Some Democrats praised the move. For decades, both men have accused China of unfair trade practices that have displaced American workers and hobbled the United States manufacturing base.

"At least in the near term, prospects for German industry have never looked rosier", economist Carsten Brzeski of ING Diba bank said after official data showed industrial production held steady in January.

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