Hopes Raised Over Steel Tariffs

Saul Bowman
March 11, 2018

Shortly after Trump's tweet, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Twitter that the relationship between the two allies was fair and reciprocal.

Australian media is accusing President Donald Trump of "reneging" on a promise he reportedly made to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull past year.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has revealed the country to be exempted from USA tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Trump announced on Thursday that he's slapping a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum.

But it was not all good news, with Australian Industry Group Chief Executive Innes Willox warning the United States tariffs could still hurt Australian companies.

"I was very pleased the President was able to confirm that he would not have to impose tariffs on Australian steel and aluminium", Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters on Saturday.

"We will be making a decision as to who they are - we have a very close relationship with Australia", he said.

The announcement is a major diplomatic victory for the Turnbull government, which has been lobbying hard for Australia to be exempt from the tariffs. The US has a trade surplus in Australia and it is the largest direct foreign investor in Australia.

He excluded Mexico and Canada, as long as they negotiate a new North American Free Trade Agreement, and threw the door open to further exclusions for countries and niche products.

Australian steel and aluminium to the United States were worth just over $400 million previous year.

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.

But Mr Turnbull denied the two countries were working on a new "security" agreement, saying Mr Trump was referring to the legal paperwork and proclamation that will now follow to put the exemption in place.

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