The U.S. Has Announced Which Countries Are Exempt from Steel and Aluminum Tariffs

By Sahid Fawaz

The U.S. revealed today who is exempt from the controversial tariffs.

The New York Times reports:

“The United States trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, said on Thursday that several American allies would initially be exempt from the steel and aluminum tariffs that are to take effect shortly.

Speaking at a meeting of the Senate Finance Committee, Mr. Lighthizer said that the European Union, along with Argentina, Australia, Brazil and South Korea, would be exempted. Canada and Mexico were earlier left off the list of countries subject to the tariffs.

‘The idea that the president has is that, based on a certain set of criteria, some countries should be out,’ Mr. Lighthizer said. ‘What he has decided to do is pause the implementation of the tariffs in respect to those countries.’

His remarks will provide relief for the exempted countries, which have been lobbying hard in recent weeks to win a reprieve from the blanket tariffs, which President Trump’s administration had justified on national security grounds and which had been due to come into effect on Friday.

If Mr. Trump decides to exempt all of those countries from the tariffs permanently, he will have given a reprieve to some of the largest foreign suppliers of steel to the United States. In total, the countries Mr. Lighthizer listed, together with Canada and Mexico, account for more than half of the total volume of steel sold to the United States in 2017. That could make the tariffs less helpful to domestic steel mills.

The leaders of several countries with close ties, including military alliances, with the United States had warned that the restrictions could touch off a trade war and undercut a global economic recovery. They also argued that the tariffs would be mutually destructive and ignore the complexity of modern supply networks.

For example, the German carmaker BMW operates its largest factory in the world in Spartanburg, S.C., buying about two-thirds of the steel it needs in the United States and importing the rest. BMW is also the largest exporter of cars made in the United States, with China being one of the main buyers, said Harald Krüger, the company’s chief executive. ‘None of this would be possible without free trade,’ Mr. Krüger said at a news conference in Munich on Wednesday.

The spate of exemptions for allies was the clearest indication yet that the sweeping tariffs were, in fact, aimed primarily at China.”

For the rest of the story, visit The New York Times.

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