Australia Exempted from US Steel Tariffs

Bell Bay Smelter (Photo courtesy of Bell Bay Aluminium)

 

 

 

Australia avoided Trump tariffs on steel and aluminium.

 

The United States has extended its import duties to steel and aluminium imports. Special taxes on products such as steel nails, staples, wire and cables have been in force since Saturday. President Donald Trump agreed to an exemption for Canberra after lobbying by then Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

In June 2019 The New York Times, citing unidentified sources, said Trump had been urged to impose tariffs on Australian steel and aluminium in response to an increase in exports of aluminium to the United States over the past year. But the PM Scott Morrison defended Australian exporters.

According to some media reports, President Trump was persuaded to backtrack on the plan after advice that imposing tariffs on Australia would alienate a key ally in the Asia-Pacific region.

Some countries are were also exempted from the new levies: for aluminium, Argentina, Canada and Mexico and for steel, Brazil and South Korea.

The expansion of tariffs had been planned since the end of January. The US government justified it by saying that manufacturers avoided the levies already imposed by supplying more of those aluminium and steel products that were not on the customs list. Therefore, new product groups would have to be included in the list.

 

No car tariffs for the time being

The imposition of tariffs has been at the core of American trade policy since President Donald Trump took office. Trump criticises the large trade deficit in the United States. In 2018, the U.S. imported $ 880 billion more in goods than it exported. Trump sees the situation as a disadvantage for the US by trading partners who would promote their export economies with unfair methods. He wants to reduce the trade deficit with tariffs and boost domestic production again.

Australia exports about A$500 million ($347.00 million) in steel and aluminium to the United States each year.

Trump has had a trade conflict with China in particular so far. In total, he had hundreds of billions of dollars in Chinese goods subject to additional tariffs. Almost half of the U.S. trade deficit comes from trading with China. After signing a first trade agreement with China, the situation between the states has improved somewhat.

Trump also threatened Europe frequently with tariffs, especially on cars and vehicle parts. According to the US government, their imports could pose a threat to national security. In November, however, Trump passed a deadline for imposing tariffs, his security advisor Larry Kudlow recently told financial broadcaster Bloomberg TV that he is currently not expecting new tariffs on cars from Europe.

 

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