US President Trump threatens China with sanctions on trade imbalance

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Shares of automakers Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. declined after the U.S. Commerce Department recommended a crackdown on imported aluminum and steel that could make sourcing raw materials for their vehicles costlier.

The department said Ross will not announce Trump's decision on how to deal with the surge in steel and aluminium imports, which U.S. producers have said are unfairly hurting them. Ross also suggested a 23.5% tariff on aluminum products from China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela and Vietnam.

In a report to President Donald Trump, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross includes among the options a almost 24 per cent tariff on all products from China, Russia and three other economies.

A tariff of at least 53% on 12 countries' imports, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam.

Aluminum stocks also bounced, led by an 8% jump for Century Aluminum.

In each case "the imports threaten to impair our national security", Ross told reporters in a conference call about the so-called Section 232 investigation.

BEIJING (TIP): US trade sanctions will hit the world economy, Beijing warned on Feb 14, after President Donald Trump threatened to impose fresh tariffs on imports from China.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, he said, submitted the result of the investigations to him this month.

Nucor, the largest U.S. steel maker, climbed 4%, while U.S. Steel and AK Steel soared more than 10% apiece.

Trump met with a bipartisan group of USA senators and representatives at the White House last week, signaling he would take at least some action to restrict imports of the two metals.

Economists and lawmakers are anxious that new tariffs on steel could trigger retaliation from other countries and possibly hurt the United States economy. All the other countries would be subject to quotas equal to 100 percent of their 2017 exports to the United States.

Among the recommendations in the reports are a global tariff of 24% on all steel imports. "Alternatively, MEMA would recommend that the Administration implement a robust exemption or exclusion process that would allow industry representatives, like trade associations, to apply for exemptions on behalf of multiple member companies, and that those exemptions go into effect before any tariff is imposed".

The Commerce Department estimated that each of the recommendations could help increase domestic steel production from its current level of 73 percent capacity to 80 percent capacity.

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