US imposes steel, aluminum tariffs on allies; all you need to know

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The Trump administration on Thursday announced tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Mexico, Canada and European Union. The announcement was made by the US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in a telephone briefing, thus ending months of uncertainty about potential exemptions.

 

The swift retaliatory response from the EU, Canada and Mexico has reignited fears of a global trade war.

How much tarriff? 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum imports from the EU, Canada and Mexico will be imposed from Friday. Consequently, the imports from these countries will become expensive in the US and the demand for domestic steel and aluminium will increase.

Response of countries

Canada, the largest supplier of steel to the United States, will impose tariffs on imports of products like whiskey, orange juice, steel, aluminum and others from the United States, said the Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. The goods on which tariff will be imposed value about $12.8 billion.

Mexico announced “equivalent” measures on a wide range of US farm and industrial products. These include import of pork legs, apples, grapes and cheese as well as steel and other products, from the US.

 

The EU has threatened to impose tariffs on Harley Davidson motorcycles and bourbon, measures aimed at the political bases of US Republican legislators. EU exports potentially subject to US duties are worth $7.5 billion.

Why is the US doing it?

The tariffs are an attempt to protect US industry and workers from what Trump describes as unfair international competition, a key theme of his “America First” agenda.

The tariffs are aimed at allowing the US steel and aluminum industries to increase their capacity utilization rates above 80 percent for the first time in years.

Temporary exemptions were granted to a number of nations and permanent ones to several countries including Australia, Argentina and South Korea. U.S. trading partners had demanded that the exemptions be extended or made permanent.

Industry experts and associations feel that current trade policies could threaten economic progress and cause the loss of more than 2 million jobs.

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