Trump announces levy on aluminium and steel

Following multiple pleas from can making corporations to exclude steel cans and aluminium from tariffs, president Donald Trump has confirmed that the taxation of aluminium and steel is imminent.

Trump has revealed that he will charge a 25% tariff on foreign steel and a 10% tariff on aluminium imported into the US, but will “hold off” tariffs on Canada and Mexico until trade negotiations finish.

The president has said the US is suffering from “unfair trade” and believes that the move will boost US industry while defending the country’s national security.

The two metals are “the bedrock of our defence-industrial base,” he said. The industry has been “ravaged” by aggressive foreign trade practices that are “an assault on our country.”

Steel and aluminium workers were present at the signing. Trump referred to them as “the backbone of America” – and alluded to their role in his decision-making. He said such workers had been betrayed, but that was now over and he was delivering on a campaign promise.

“We are going to be very fair, we’re going to be very flexible,” Trump stated.

He also praised his country’s close relationship and trade surplus with Australia, saying “we’ll be doing something with them.”

Trump said there would be a reduction in tariffs for countries that “treat us fairly”, but went on to comment that “many of the countries that treat us the worst on trade and on military are our allies,” referring to Germany.

According to BBC News, many major trading partners have threatened retaliation and the plans are opposed by many in his own party.

  • The president’s top economic adviser Gary Cohn, a supporter of free trade, resigned on Tuesday. More than 100 Republicans have signed a letter addressed to the president, expressing their “deep concern” about the tariffs
  • International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has warned “nobody wins” in a trade war, saying it would harm global economic growth
  • The EU has proposed retaliatory measures against a number of US goods including bourbon and peanut butter
  • China has threatened an “appropriate and necessary response” in any trade war with the US foreign minister Wang Yi said China and the US should strive to be partners rather than rivals

The tariffs will go into effect in 15 days.

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