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U.S. risks trade fight with Europe as sanctions delay expires

01 May 2018, 04:54 | Myrtle Vega

U.S. risks trade fight with Europe as sanctions delay expires

U.S. risks trade fight with Europe as sanctions delay expires

European Union trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom will put Europe's case to be permanently exempted from US tariffs for a final time on Monday, ahead of a pending USA decision on whether to impose import duties on steel and aluminium coming from the bloc.

Officials also announced agreements in principle with Argentina, Australia and Brazil to allow those countries to avoid tariffs for longer.

The European Union has been among the most vocal critics of the tariffs, saying that it doesn't make sense for the U.S.to target steel and aluminum shipments of its defense partners in the name of national security risk.

The decision, coming just hours before the previous temporary tariff exemption was set to expire, will prolong the uncertainty and tensions that have built up since Trump issued 25% tariffs on imported steel and 10% on aluminum from all but a handful of countries. The secretary indicated on Friday that nations have been asked to accept import quotas in return for tariff-free access of the metals into the U.S.

Tariffs were scheduled to take effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday on imports from Canada, the largest US supplier of steel and aluminum, as well as Mexico, Argentina, Australia, Brazil and the EU.

Facing a self-imposed deadline, Trump is considering whether to permanently exempt the European Union and five other countries from tariffs that his administration imposed last month on imported steel and aluminum.

Most administration officials are pushing for Trump to at least extend the exemptions to continue talks on trade remedies, Jonathan Swan of the news website Axios reported.

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Goods include sweetcorn and cranberries, along with Kentucky bourbon, cigars, jeans and motorcycles.

In a separate trade battle with China, the United States has threatened to impose tariffs on $150 billion of Chinese goods in retaliation for what it argues are Beijing's unfair trade practices and its requirement that US companies turn over technology in exchange for access to its market.

Canada is the largest source of steel imports into the United States, with a steel industry that is highly integrated with its southern neighbor.

The tariffs Trump has imposed don't hurt foreign producers anywhere near as much as they hurt American consumers. "We've been having lots of discussions internally, we've been having lots of discussions with our counterparts", he said, adding: "We're addressing these issues real time".



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