PM 'best-placed' to handle U.S. steel hike

Michele Moreno
March 11, 2018

The conversation with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull came after the president instituted a tariff of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on all aluminum imports.

SYDNEY-Australia on Saturday disputed U.S. President Donald Trump's apparent assertion the day before that the country being exempted from planned U.S. tariffs on aluminum and steel imports would be conditional on a new security agreement.

Earlier this week, Trump announced the USA will impose a 25 per cent tariff on steel imports and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminium imports as part of its renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"Thank you for confirming new tariffs won't have to be imposed on Australian steel & aluminium - good for jobs in Australia and in U.S.!"

President Donald Trump has suggested that Australia could be exempt from a move by the U.S. to impose heavy tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

While the Trump highlighted the nations' military and trade relationships, Turnbull moved to clarify Trump's comment about a new "security agreement", saying the president was referring to the legal paperwork that would lock the exemption into place.

Turnbull said Australia had "the closest possible military and security alliance with the United States and it gets closer all of the time".

"Spoke to PM TurnbullMalcolm of Australia".

Australian steel and aluminium account for just a small percentage of the United States import market, but Canberra has warned the tariffs would distort trade and lead to job losses.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd said on Saturday he was also concerned about a global tit-for-tat, taking issue with Mr Trump's belief that trade wars are good. "It's a level playing field and, in fact, the USA has a large trade surplus with Australia".

Australian steel and aluminum exports to the United States were worth just over A$400 million ($314 million) a year ago, government data showed.

West Australian Premier Mark McGowan said he believed Mr Trump's actions could still have some unforeseen and wide-ranging consequences, given his state exports iron ore to countries like China and Japan.

Australian Industry Group Chief Executive Innes Willox said the exemption was a positive step but he was concerned it would only apply to steel and aluminium from Australia and not to Australian companies producing overseas.

Other reports by Insurance News

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