Published: Mon, March 12, 2018

Australia to Secure Exemption from US Tariffs

Australia to Secure Exemption from US Tariffs

US trade representative Robert Lighthizer said last week the pace of the talks is too slow and the USA wants them wrapped up in the next four to six weeks.

"Everything you have for breakfast", Malmstroem said. Talks would continue next week.

Lighthizer's meetings with European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom and separately with Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko were long planned, but they took on added urgency as allies warned the USA moves could provoke a global trade war.

This shed light on Trump's attacks against Germany - the biggest economy in the European Union - that have accused Berlin of contributing much less than the USA toward the funding of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

"We call for calm-headed behavior", he told reporters.

"While we hope that Australia will win exemptions from the latest steel and aluminium tariffs, this would be only a partial victory", Mr Willox said on Friday.

"He only explained the schedule and the procedures", he said.

Foreign steel producers are not only concerned about losing access to the USA market but also that steel from other exporters will flood already saturated markets, threatening jobs elsewhere.

US President Donald Trump's announcement of duties of 25% on imported steel and 10% on aluminium has stung its major partners.

While carrying a message to Washington to push forward a diplomatic breakthrough over North Korea, South Korea's national security office chief Chung Eui-yong asked United States officials to support Seoul's request for a waiver, a presidential spokesman said.

Turnbull added Australia had "the closest possible military and security alliance with the United States and it gets closer all of the time".

Lighthizer did not make any immediate comment after the meetings. But Ms Bishop said the USA has a global program of challenging questionable maritime claims, whereas Australia does not.

But the Saturday meetings in Brussels, the capital of the European Union, appeared to be inconclusive.

He refused to directly criticise Mr Trump's much-maligned protectionist moves, however, saying he was "not going to lecture another country about what they do on trade".

But the USA would like Australia to carry out such patrols, which would mean sailing within 12 nautical miles of territory Beijing has unilaterally claimed, including islands it has built, to demonstrate Australia does not recognise Beijing's claims under worldwide law.

"Thank you for confirming new tariffs won't have to be imposed on Australian steel & aluminum - good for jobs in Australia and in USA!"

Trump insisted in a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron - a leading European Union player staunchly opposed to the tariffs - that the "decision is necessary and appropriate to protect national security". "We have to chose whether we want rules-based trade. or whether we want the rule of force, the rule of the strongest, which we have now seen".

The European steel association Eurofer in Brussels today warned the US President's new import tariffs were "harmful and counterproductive" and could lead to the loss of tens of thousands of jobs in Europe.

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