USA treasury chief: 'Cautiously optimistic' on China trade talks

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The metal tariffs have also heightened trade tensions with China, with Trump continuing to accuse Beijing of maintaining a huge trade surplus through unfair practices.

May's office said in a statement after the prime minister's Sunday call with Merkel that they and Macron "pledged to continue to work closely with the rest of the European Union and the USA administration with the aim of a permanent exemption from us tariffs". That is especially true if Trump continues to concentrate on forcing a reduction in the USA trade deficit, which economists agree is not the right way to gauge a healthy trading relationship.

The EU says that it will only discuss terms of trade with the United States once it has received a permanent exemption to the steel and aluminium tariffs.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Trump has not yet made a decision on whether any countries should get extended exemptions on steel and aluminum tariffs. South Korea also won a temporary exemption, which eventually became a long-term exemption after the progression of talks on the U.S. -Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS).

Trump last week conducted White House meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with the tariffs and other trade issues high on the agenda. But over the weekend, Century Aluminum Co. For instance, Canada and Mexico would be granted an extension because they have made progress on steel and aluminum issues in NAFTA talks, which resume late next week.

President Donald Trump has threatened a new round of tariffs on $100 billion worth of Chinese products that could target mobile phones, computers and other consumer goods. Paris said afterwards they had agreed "the European Union must be ready to act" if Washington presses ahead with the tariffs.

Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said "a quota on steel would not be the best way to go". Some 3,500 exclusion requests have yet to be reviewed, while about 550 had been processed as of April 27, according to the department.

Companies are asking for relief from 25 per cent tariffs on steel imports and 10 per cent on aluminium.

The Commerce Department said nearly all of the exclusion submissions yet to be reviewed were received within the last 12 days, and that a third of the requests have come from just 10 firms.

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