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Trump signs metals tariffs with exemptions: Update 2

08 Mar 2018 22:37 GMT
Trump signs metals tariffs with exemptions: Update 2

Adds details on product exemption.

Washington, 8 March (Argus) — President Donald Trump today imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports that will take effect on 23 March but will not initially apply to Canada and Mexico.

Plans for the 25pc tariff on steel and 10pc tariff on aluminum were first announced a week ago, catching trading partners and allies on Capitol Hill by surprise. It set off a frenetic push by Republican lawmakers, world leaders and industry groups to persuade Trump that broad tariffs would result in retaliatory tariffs and a damaging trade war. US steelmakers, meanwhile, urged him to impose the tariffs he promised during his campaign.

Oil and gas companies, which have criticized the tariffs, won a major concession today by securing a mechanism that will allow companies to seek tariff exemptions for products not made in sufficient amounts or quality in the US. Pipeline developers say the type of high-grade steel used in large-diameter pipelines are not widely available in the US.

The tariffs are being imposed under a trade law intended to protect national security. Trump said today he wants ships, planes and other military equipment to be made with with steel and aluminum made domestically. And he sees the tariffs as an incentive for manufacturers to bring facilities and jobs back to the US.

"You do not want to pay tax, bring your plant to the USA," Trump said in a signing ceremony at the White House.

The tariff exclusion for Canada and Mexico, which accounted for 26pc of US steel imports last year, will offer more time to re-negotiate changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), Trump says. But the exemption could be revoked if discussions on trade and other issues related to security are not progressing.

"I have a feeling we will make a deal on Nafta, and if we do, there will not be any tariffs on Canada and there will not be any tariffs on Mexico," Trump said.

The EU and other trading partners will have the option to seek modifications to their tariffs but only if they put forward an alternative proposal about how to mitigate the alleged national security harm their imports are causing, according to a senior administration official. And any reduction to the tariffs for one country could cause duties for every other country to increase, to maintain similar levels of protection for US manufacturers.

Oil industry officials say uncertainty around the tariffs are already having an effect, as suppliers worry about their ability to fill orders. They are warning they may cancel billions of dollars in projects that they planned as a result of other Trump administration policies.

"All those investments depend on deregulation and tax cuts, which have been positive for the industry," ExxonMobil chief executive Darren Woods said earlier today in a televised interview. "The talk of tariffs takes us back to the opposite direction."

US imports of steel and stainless steel rose to 36.9 metric tonnes (t) last year from 30mn t in 2016, but have fallen from 40.2mn t in 2014. Canada accounted for 6.2mn t into the US in 2017, followed by Brazil at 5mn t, South Korea at 3.6mn t and Mexico at 3.4mn t, according to the US Commerce Department. China was in 11th place with 823,888 t, down from 2.9mn t in 2014, when it was the sixth top US supplier.

The US has 169 anti-dumping and countervailing duties in place for steel, 29 of which are against China. There are 25 ongoing cases. Tariffs would be imposed on top of any existing antidumping or countervailing duties in place.

A letter from 107 Republican House members to the president on 7 March urged him to drop his plans to implement broad tariffs, warning of "unintended consequences" for workers and the economy. That followed a letter from a group of House Democrats calling for hearings on US trade policy.

But steel and aluminum mills are cheering the move. Swiss trader ARG International subsidiary Magnitude 7 Metals plans to reopen a primary aluminum smelter in Missouri, according to state officials this week. The property and facility was once owned by Noranda Aluminum, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2016.

And US Steel said it plans to restart one of two idled blast furnaces at its Granite City, Illinois, facility to support an anticipated rise in demand for steel in the US following the tariffs.

Trump's attempt to force trading partners to offer concessions to lift the tariffs will likely frustrate the EU and other close allies that were hoping for blanket exclusions.

"We are concerned about the state of international relations," European Central Bank president Mario Draghi said today before the tariffs were announced. "If you put tariffs on your allies, one wonders who the enemies are."

5503369

US imports of steel mill products, annual totalt
Country200920102011201220132014201520162017
World14,709,927.021,708,178.025,868,630.030,367,638.029,166,806.040,222,845.035,143,597.029,956,616.036,874,933.0
Canada3,875,543.06,026,020.05,471,712.05,223,763.04,971,465.05,488,453.05,244,973.05,119,209.06,119,328.0
Brazil653,906.0902,980.02,820,402.03,591,948.03,777,443.04,563,897.04,829,544.03,959,361.05,022,557.0
Korea1,199,892.01,851,620.02,574,186.03,336,545.03,457,683.04,967,551.04,402,159.03,458,386.03,620,786.0
Mexico1,586,017.02,559,925.02,622,173.02,453,290.02,895,500.03,364,570.02,502,939.02,723,233.03,374,182.0
Turkey445,922.0527,563.0665,302.01,221,621.01,092,424.01,994,610.02,560,647.02,191,546.02,199,639.0
Japan1,108,633.01,344,720.01,824,282.02,363,173.02,268,524.02,437,082.02,406,688.01,947,919.01,926,873.0
Russia491,867.01,247,673.01,253,694.02,181,167.01,683,539.04,254,859.01,922,042.01,870,379.02,944,925.0
Germany450,017.01,085,563.0974,729.01,211,675.01,016,777.01,190,132.01,415,879.01,110,099.01,491,052.0
Taiwan336,464.0486,340.0587,288.0755,807.0691,083.01,077,718.01,091,339.0983,245.01,179,710.0
Vietnam23,965.039,525.0120,109.0269,698.0249,638.0139,163.0201,217.0871,153.0735,822.0
China1,329,964.0780,995.01,124,355.01,505,751.01,729,412.02,900,316.02,161,101.0789,133.0823,888.0
Netherlands339,809.0502,590.0517,594.0575,635.0654,744.0859,890.0745,751.0664,387.0662,141.0
Italy318,288.0385,735.0266,317.0638,100.0500,656.0675,864.0555,751.0404,275.0518,747.0
UK204,446.0362,886.0399,434.0558,561.0457,380.01,287,030.0756,797.0328,881.0361,686.0
France185,969.0234,349.0272,304.0260,828.0316,606.0438,067.0492,261.0324,116.0287,528.0
India527,591.0704,318.0725,215.0725,441.0664,549.01,007,602.0785,886.0318,416.0752,348.0
Australia258,567.0506,894.0738,712.0263,214.0134,084.0252,005.0300,140.0295,137.0366,900.0
Spain124,144.0205,204.0195,679.0196,437.0211,939.0371,695.0275,777.0292,866.0449,853.0
Sweden149,781.0252,656.0267,751.0296,245.0244,594.0288,531.0247,574.0280,974.0324,340.0
South Africa29,569.0109,319.0123,046.086,291.069,341.0148,614.0167,896.0200,037.0338,361.0
Ukraine45,740.0117,669.0325,390.0236,227.0118,425.0110,107.0153,570.0194,784.0256,671.0
Belgium95,931.093,218.081,065.0116,391.0123,427.0176,327.0120,207.0193,077.0135,359.0
Austria123,377.0188,904.0281,077.0287,019.0248,402.0284,449.0180,236.0168,573.0283,058.0
Luxembourg111,856.0186,830.0171,042.0158,907.0205,037.0283,791.0185,623.0166,816.0220,813.0
UAE18,552.034,608.063,077.041,324.059,166.098,265.0156,076.0158,590.0282,408.0
Thailand50,919.040,820.072,183.0172,783.096,147.086,429.0101,385.0140,341.0418,800.0
Greece56,901.036,733.062,100.0118,197.048,107.044,080.0205,274.0104,999.055,443.0
Czech Republic85,692.0140,652.0188,857.0212,641.0154,908.0194,574.0111,896.085,499.0126,920.0
Argentina74,640.0127,658.0166,859.0188,152.0269,598.0197,984.0107,743.080,909.0212,136.0
Finland58,113.085,979.030,712.050,940.071,760.0114,568.034,186.047,908.069,160.0
Belarus6,519.022,437.024,324.038,535.049,457.074,024.043,205.040,717.055,439.0
Romania31,285.089,062.094,852.0133,793.096,920.0121,505.084,874.040,350.082,278.0
New Zealand48,371.091,091.0121,312.099,619.0127,810.0107,579.0120,420.036,831.052,894.0
Malaysia49,697.014,970.039,017.050,953.014,976.07,943.035,877.027,920.097,153.0
Dominican Republic37,269.033,662.081,027.045,606.034,004.019,838.014,191.027,171.039,319.0
Oman17,224.030,824.033,147.044,047.042,027.062,578.041,999.025,673.045,126.0
Pakistan509.72,003.03,326.023,683.011,544.021,748.027,270.024,274.029,498.0
Peru775.8803.8880.81,464.011,178.048,965.017,589.024,258.048,511.0
Slovenia6,628.010,749.013,264.015,392.016,711.022,372.024,256.022,014.033,094.0
Portugal1,638.02,438.02,361.03,976.09,817.015,929.06,119.021,201.0134,087.0
Colombia23,625.045,933.058,141.055,489.015,297.020,173.014,982.017,358.044,663.0
Philippines57.15,700.051,906.096,996.096,637.080,258.056,263.016,927.063,329.0
Switzerland7,494.011,802.014,054.019,285.011,431.015,361.014,379.015,719.017,880.0
Indonesia8,360.029,327.046,679.035,875.07,777.08,337.07,410.014,748.046,613.0
Guatemala289.82,044.02,610.04,053.04,644.03,134.04,007.014,401.031,577.0
Kazakhstan..985.1.5,332.014,645.01,390.013,249.05,904.0
Saudi Arabia1,062.013,931.081,077.081,863.075,183.074,624.0101,286.011,897.074,784.0
Egypt...414.5.25,901.019.010,014.0173,312.0
Macedonia (Skopje)..4,996.020,044.0.27,513.08,375.09,294.012,363.0
Norway9,039.05,941.0334.9815.19,168.08,923.09,853.09,078.011,336.0
Serbia......252.88,538.036,424.0
Denmark106.3190.95,573.02,405.01,793.08,237.014,623.07,812.022,882.0
Venezuela69,359.043,254.030,181.010,450.0.18.927,531.07,507.04,001.0
Hong Kong451.1133.4427.11,459.0979.610,714.09,819.07,067.01,286.0
Costa Rica580.4703.0902.41,965.02,264.03,905.01,971.06,892.041,036.0
Slovakia1,746.05,385.076,651.0234,115.09,251.076,322.06,005.05,715.053,038.0
Poland15,542.036,115.025,200.034,675.019,412.03,199.011,567.05,471.010,149.0
Singapore1,261.0260.41,966.0315.0636.56,139.0679.12,971.0490.6
Bulgaria...20.91.125,967.04,214.02,604.0119.8
El Salvador.47.5..20.0271.3972.81,049.01,574.0
Ecuador196.91,495.01,706.0926.2140.8166.3161.6745.9241.3
Tunisia...518.581.8.19.4703.8463.1
Panama...999.71,108.01,043.02,229.0592.670.9
Ireland255.2227.6143.7171.3194.8276.0341.1486.1583.4
Honduras....57.2434.9167.5316.81,821.0
Jordan.......289.7104.7
Israel7,526.07,762.024,794.03,629.0454.947.856.4127.017.7
Chile333.511.6285.68.031.3527.0524.2114.95,102.0
Latvia153.4....61.1286.7113.739.6
Hungary5.215.750.785.230.880.4138.855.9245.0
Cambodia.......42.545.1
Bahrain.374.5211.472.252.920.821.48.43,649.0
Liechtenstein...16.2...8.20.0
Seychelles.......5.30.5
Kenya.......3.2.
Tanzania.......1.7.
Trinidad and Tobago...780.87,375.05,134.05,146.01.288.4
Bahamas....436.3..0.92.5
Iceland.......0.6.
Macao.......0.6.
Sri Lanka......2.60.31.0
Estonia.....366.0.0.211.0
Qatar.......0.1.
Algeria..38.1......
Angola......1.8.0.2
Burma (Myanmar)........362.9
Croatia1.321,330.031,857.04,005.016.0243.8502.0.2.3
Cyprus......5.0..
Georgia....148.23.1..1.5
Guyana........1.7
Iraq......3.1..
Kyrgyzstan.5.9.......
Lithuania..16.9.....0.2
Mauritania....1.0....
Moldova....21.7....
Morocco......3.0.30,453.0
Mozambique362.98,145.07,621.01,130.0.....
Nauru...1.2.....
Nicaragua..38.9......
Nigeria.....59.4...
Sao Tome and Principe.....1.0...
Suriname...189.5.....
Syria52.318.6.......
Uruguay50.913.2......