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Australia 'Disappointed' By US Steel Tariff Plans

by Mary Swire, Tax-News.com, Hong Kong

06 March 2018


Australian Trade Minister Steven Ciobo has described the US administration's announcement of tariffs on steel and aluminium imports as "disappointing."

On March 1, US President Donald Trump said that his administration is "going to be instituting tariffs" of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminium imports, which will be in place for an "unlimited period."

Reacting to the news, Ciobo told reporters that the imposition of such tariffs "will do nothing other than distort trade and ultimately, we believe, will lead to a loss of jobs." He said that the Government will "pursue, with great vigor, Australia's interests."

Ciobo has requested a discussion with Wilbur Ross, the US Commerce Secretary. He said that the Australian Government will continue to engage with the US administration "until such time as we see the detail around the President's announcement."

Ciobo noted that at the moment there is little by way of detail as to whether "this will be a unilateral tariff imposed on everybody, or whether there may be exemptions." He stressed that the Australian Government will "be arguing very forcefully for exemptions for Australia's steel and aluminium exporters."

Ciobo expressed his concern that other major economies could introduce retaliatory measures. He said this would be "in no one's interests."

"If we see a breakout of action and reaction from major economies, the only thing that will arise from that will be a slowdown in economic growth, and over time, if it got bad enough, ultimately we could see, for example, a recession, and we know the consequent impact of that," he added.

TAGS: tariffs | Australia | manufacturing | United States | import duty | trade

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