White House softens trade tariff stance amid European threats

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Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is in NY and seeking talks with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to press Australia's case for an exemption.

If the United States ignored rulings of the World Trade Organization, or pulled out of Nafta, it could trigger a series of steps including not just tariffs but other restrictions on worldwide commerce, and perhaps limits on the flow of capital across borders and even the expropriation of foreign-owned assets. Certainly, a wide variety of analysts are again crying disaster, saying it will damage out ability to complete pipeline products, and will provoke retaliation from the European Union. Navarro said he already has "full plate" as director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing. "The potential for escalation is real". Steel prices are also mounting due to a drop in competing imports, according to the survey, even as the White House plans to impose steep tariffs on imports to support USA producers. Some may strike back directly with their own retaliatory tariffs. Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Pfizer were among the biggest winners of the day. It was pure joy for late-night television, even if it was nearly more than they could manage to squeeze in to one night's shows.

Congressman Clay Higgins is warning against the tariffs. It's also not clear whether American steel mills and aluminum smelters can increase production enough to match the overseas supply that would be lost. Lawmakers said it should allow for existing contracts to purchase aluminum or steel to be grandfathered in, and there should be a review on a "short-term basis" of the impact on the economy, to see if another approach would be more effective. What's more, unless the US declares war on its neighbor to the north, metal supplies from Canada are not likely to be compromised. Iowa's congressional delegation, including two Republican senators, wrote to Trump expressing concern that the tariffs would hit the state's farmers. That raises the possibility inflation will creep up. EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said the EU was circulating among member states a list of US goods to target with tariffs so it could respond quickly.

Their renewed involvement ultimately led to last Thursday's announcement of 25 percent and 10 percent tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, and babysitter Gary's resignation letter. "Both of these points would seem to cast some doubt on the prospect of a sustained steel stock rally - a prospect that may also be evident in the recent "indecision" in U.S. Steel's price action". "Since we started [renegotiating NAFTA] in August of 2017, they have come after softwood lumber, paper, aerospace, steel, aluminum".

The Turnbull Government had believed it secured a promise of an exemption from Mr Trump during last year's G20 leaders meeting.

"This has the potential to get worse, but there's a long way to go before we have a trade war", he said.

"Peter speaks the same language as Trump does on these issues", said Stephen Moore, a former Trump campaign adviser who is now a visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said at the seventh round of NAFTA talks in Mexico City earlier this week that he wants a deal in the next four to six weeks.

"Here's the situation, and the president has made this public", Navarro said.

Mnuchin joined the effort, claiming that the tariffs, which are not yet finalized, would not hurt the administration's projections for three percent growth.

Echoing Sanders, White House National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro told Fox Business Wednesday night that Canada and Mexico could be sheltered from the tariffs provided they meet US demands in renegotiating NAFTA.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the amount of aluminum used in the United States that is imported.

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