Published: Tue, May 01, 2018

Trump postpones steel tariff decision for Canada, EU, Mexico

Trump postpones steel tariff decision for Canada, EU, Mexico

But over the weekend, Century Aluminum Co CEO Mike Bless, leading the second-largest U.S. aluminum producer, echoed the Commerce Department's original recommendations to the president that said all imports must be subject to either quotas or tariffs.

President Trump has chose to postpone for another month the decision about whether to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, senior administration officials said late Monday.

At the time, Trump excluded several vital trading partners - the European Union, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Argentina and Brazil - from the tariffs. Currently, five of the US's 10 largest sources of imported steel are exempted from the tariffs. But both Mexico and Canada have resisted the idea of a quota.

Mnuchin's comments were similar to those of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who said late Saturday that the White House will announce its decision on tariffs right before the May 1 deadline. He suggested that most countries - but not all - will see their exemptions extended.

"We're going to have very frank discussions", Mnuchin in an interview broadcast Monday on Fox Business. "We've been having lots of discussions internally, we've been having lots of discussions with our counterparts".

The temporary exemptions will expire at 12:01 a.m. (0401 GMT) on Tuesday unless Trump extends them.

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.

Merkel said Europe was "resolved to defend its interests within the multilateral trade framework".

According to multiple reports, negotiations to stall the tariffs' imposition have stalled and while some countries now exempted are confident an extension is on the way, nothing is guaranteed.

Two people familiar with the process said the Trump administration has been considering whether to provide a short-term extension of the exemptions to allow for more time to review the countries' efforts to secure permanent exemptions.

Merkel threatened that European nations would retaliate if the USA tariffs take effect, placing their own barriers on American products.

The Treasury secretary will lead the United States trade delegation in China this week. The U.S. refused to offer the European Union compensation and said the request for consultations had no basis under WTO rules. The bloc would be able to impose the retaliatory measures on June 21, 90 days after the US levies took effect, according to an European Union official with knowledge of the plans, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

"The risk is that we could see a major supply chain shock with negative spillovers to financial markets", Daco wrote in a note to clients.

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