US President Donald Trump on Thursday temporarily excluded six countries, including Canada and Mexico, and EU states from higher US import duties on steel and aluminum meant to come into effect yesterday.
In a presidential proclamation, Trump said he would suspend tariffs for Argentina, Australia, Brazil, South Korea, Canada, Mexico and the EU — the US’ biggest trading partner — until May 1, as discussions continue.
After May 1, Trump would decide whether to permanently exempt the countries based on the status of talks, the White House said in a statement.
The US was set to begin imposing the higher import duties of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, mainly aimed at curbing imports from China, as of yesterday.
“I have determined that the necessary and appropriate means to address the threat to the national security posed by imports from steel articles from these countries is to continue these discussions and to exempt steel articles imports from these countries from the tariff, at least at this time,” said Trump’s proclamation released by the White House.
It said countries not on the list could discuss with Washington ways to address US national security concerns caused by imports of steel from that country.
Earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that the EU would respond firmly if the US did not exempt European steel and aluminum.
The European Commission had proposed that if US tariffs were applied the bloc would challenge them at the WTO.
Canada and Mexico are in the midst of renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement with the US.
Trump had said Canada and Mexico would only be excluded after the successful renegotiation of the trade agreement.
Trump said that South Korea was listed because of its important security relationship with the US.
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