President Donald Trump said Saturday he would spare the European Union his steel and aluminum tariffs if the bloc halts its own trade barriers to USA products, in his latest round of economic hardball.
Trump moved on Thursday to impose the tariffs - 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum - but held open the possibility of negotiating exemptions with allies who promised to alter their trade practices with the U.S. The levies are due to go into effect in 15 days.
So now it appears Canada, our top exporter of steel, and Mexico, our fourth most important steel exporter, will be exempt from the tariffs, significantly weakening the impact of the policy. Seoul's Trade Minister Kim Hyun-jong has been meeting with Congressional and Senate leaders pitching the message was that Korean steel is not a threat to the USA steel industry and is actually contributing to the US economy through local investments. "Retaliatory actions would especially harm agricultural businesses in New Mexico and will only increase costs on consumers".
"We express regret over the USA government's decision to impose tariffs on imported steel even though the Korean government has pointed out the problems of this action through various channels". A senior US official said the measures would take effect about two weeks after Trump signs the proclamation.
South Korea's trade minister, speaking at an emergency meeting, appealed to other governments to prevent a "trade war".
Although Brazil has not indicated where it might alternatively source coal, China was the world's largest producer of "met coal" as recently as 2013, followed distantly by Australia and the U.S.
Key U.S. trading partners and businesses have warned the tariffs could backfire, provoking a trade war and hurting allies like the European Union and Japan more than China, their main target.
He tweeted, "For example, an American auto going to China pays 25% import duty, but a Chinese vehicle coming to the U.S. only pays 2.5%, a tenfold difference" and "I am against import duties in general, but the current rules make things very hard".
"There are mechanisms in place now for the United States and that's the path that we wish them to pursue".
Australia's trade minister said he had preliminary discussions with the USA trade representative, Robert Lighthizer.
Malmstroem hinted that retaliation was still an option if everything else failed: "We will have to protect our industry with rebalancing measures".
Shares in China's steel and aluminium makers fell on Friday morning.