Canada, Mexico and the European Union (EU) will be exempt from U.S.-imposed steel and aluminum tariffs for another 30 days. The White House announced yesterday that steel and aluminum imports from these countries will not yet be taxed at 25 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
“In all of these negotiations, the administration is focused on quotas that will restrain imports, prevent transshipment and protect the national security,” says a White House statement.
May 1, 2018 was the original deadline for President Donald Trump to make a decision pending North American Free Trade Agreement talks with Canada and Mexico and negotiations with the EU. Those negotiations will be extended until June 1, 2018.
In a statement, the European Commission says that the decision “prolongs market uncertainty, which is already affecting business decisions.
“The EU should be fully and permanently exempted from these measures, as they cannot be justified on the grounds of national security,” reads the statement. “Overcapacity in the steel and aluminum sectors does not originate in the EU. On the contrary, the EU has over the past months engaged at all possible levels with the US and other partners to find a solution to this issue. The EU has also consistently indicated its willingness to discuss current market access issues of interest to both sides, but has also made clear that, as a longstanding partner and friend of the US, we will not negotiate under threat.”
Argentina, Australia, Brazil and South Korea were also given temporary exemptions that were set to expire today.
The U.S. reached a final agreement on terms that will exempt South Korea from the tariffs. Trade representatives from both countries released a joint statement at the end of March, but details have not been released.
The administration has also reached agreements in principle with Argentina, Australia and Brazil. According to the White House statement, those details will be finalized shortly.
When the tariffs were first announced in early March, the Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) urged President Trump to target China specifically.
“We believe the president should focus on China, and we’re unconvinced that these tariffs do a sufficient job,” said AEC president Jeff Henderson. “As far as curtainwall, storefront and doors and window, I think we’ll be putting companies at a disadvantage by denying them access to global prices of aluminum.”
In early April, China filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization over the U.S.-imposed steel and aluminum tariffs. China and the U.S. have until early June to resolve the dispute themselves. If they are unable to do so, panelists could be appointed to make rulings or recommendations.