Tariffs: EU, Japan Plan Against US

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The trade group that represents General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV hinted that automakers - which purchase about 15 percent of the steel and nearly 40 per cent of aluminium consumed in the US- will press the Trump administration to water down the order by carving out exceptions for imports from some countries. The Europeans are very-very fond of free trade, well they claim to be, they actually have extremely high tariff barriers on many areas including agriculture, but ostensibly they are very-very pro-free trade and they tend to react aggressively when any other country does take trade measures against them. At least for now.

Countries refused special treatment could still hit back against the USA with trade barriers of their own down the road. That edge would slip if American companies now have to spend more on steel to make washers and dryers.

Here's a closer look at what Trump's action does, how it would work and whether it's likely to succeed.

The automobile industry wouldn't exist without steel and aluminum, and the tariffs could cost Ford and General Motors $1 billion each per year, according to Goldman Sachs.

Others, including the Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., disagree with that. During that period, American presidential leadership played a crucial role in lowering barriers to worldwide trade, establishing global rules and organizations for cross-border commerce - particularly between countries in a growing US-sponsored trading order - and steadily expanding the volume and value of traded goods and services. But Trump does have the authority to impose the tariffs, and he has used it.

Trump said steel and aluminium are "absolutely vital" to critical infrastructure and the defence-industrial base.

US JOBS: How markets actually finish the day could well hinge on the USA nonfarm payrolls report for February.

The US neighbour to the north was also by far the largest supplier of alumina and aluminium, followed by China, Russia and the United Arab Emirates. Jobs will also be lost as companies seek ways to reduce their costs.

Pipeline builders argue that many United States steel mills haven't invested in producing the kind of specialized pipe that is needed to meet industry standards for integrity and strength, making it usable in oil and gas pipelines. "It's really an assault on our country", he continued.

The UK will be hit hard. The U.S. has already taken other actions impacting Chinese exports of aluminum, solar panels and washing machines in recent months.

Trump says American steel and aluminum workers have been betrayed, but "that betrayal is now over".

He insisted that businesses and investors should be more concerned about the rising tensions between the USA and China, particularly given the political and economic impacts such a stoush has on two of Australia's largest trading partners.

The Administration had come under intense pressure to exempt Canada. "WTO rules include a specific call out for national security and national defense". If Mexico and Canada win permanent exemptions, tariffs on imports from other nations may be increased beyond 25 percent, a Trump official said.

Trump had indicated he would be flexible towards "real friends", and during the signing confirmed Canada and Mexico would be exempted permanently if the ongoing renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement is successful.

The developments Thursday cap a week of frenzied lobbying by Canada, and come after the seventh round of NAFTA talks, which concluded Monday.

What's more, China probably wouldn't counter with hefty new duties on all United States goods.

"I think that's incredibly cynical and misguided", says Edward Alden, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

"Government ministers and Theresa May must back Britain's steelworkers and manufacturing communities by securing assurances from President Trump that they will not be caught up in a global tariff war between the U.S. and countries such as China". Their version stripped out some of the conditions won by US negotiators, such as increased intellectual property protections for pharmaceuticals. It was the most explicit threat yet from the country in the escalating trade row. But even if they do, Fast said the president will probably be undeterred. "What strikes me is whatever convictions you have about trade, we are convinced that disputes should be discussed and resolved in a multilateral framework". The tariffs may also start a chain reaction of retaliation around the world; the European Union is already suggesting duties on United States goods like bourbon and Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Experts fear the move could spark a trade war between the European Union and the USA after EU chiefs threatened to react firmly with WTO-compatible countermeasures against the US. It will also add safeguarding measures and put its own tariffs in place to prevent an excess of steel imports to the marketplace. But analysts still worry about the fallout from the tariffs. "You have a national security threat. I just want fairness". "We've raised that point at every level of the administration, including with the President". And Trump took note of U.S. Steel's announcement that it planned to ramp up activity at its plant in Granite City, Illinois, and recall about 500 employees because of the new tariffs. That could unleash a protectionist free-for-all, damaging to the global economy - something the WTO was created to prevent.

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