US President Donald Trump established officially today tariffs of 25 and 10 percent, respectively, on the imports of steel and aluminum, after signing the relevant document. "There will be a lot of sound and fury and it will be very unnerving for all of us as we go through the process, but at the end we might get a zombie state where NAFTA's not renewed but it's not torn up either", he said. "But it's not open-ended".
Likewise, Trump's invitation to countries to plead their case for being exempted from the tariffs might prove a tough sell.
A provision in a 1962 USA law allows the president to set emergency tariffs as a security issue.
Economists aren't sure whether the tariffs are legal.
But the U.S. does not have a trade deficit with Canada. "NAFTA discussions will be part of that only because NAFTA is an important part of the security relationship within the hemisphere".
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Q: Can other products be excluded from the tariffs in the future?
Trump says the levies will take effect in about 15 days.
Two polls released this week say the tariffs are unpopular.
"(This tariff-signing) should be a great day for America", he said.
President Donald Trump had a laurel and a dig for one of his favorite "globalists" Thursday as he bid his top economic adviser farewell.
"These developments also reinforce the need for modernization of the trade remedy system here in Canada to address the risk of unfairly diverted steel tons into our domestic market".
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The official insisted that was untrue. A total of 10 blast furnaces have been shuttered or idled in the United States since 2000, a 50-percent reduction that was attributed to foreign competition and excessive imports. Or jack up the tariffs even higher on the countries that still must pay them. These measures could be supplemented by restrictions on Chinese investment into the US, which have come into question lately on the grounds of national-security risks, such as with Chinese phone-maker Huawei.
A full-court diplomatic press unfolded in recent days, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calling Trump earlier this week, and then speaking Thursday with the Republican leaders of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. "If this is indeed critical for national security, it should not be used as a bargaining chip".
"While U.S. steel production capacity has remained flat since 2001, other steel-producing nations have increased their production capacity, with China alone able to produce as much steel as the rest of the world combined", the U.S. Department of Commerce reported.
You can bet that the Americans will use the threat of the tariffs as a major bargaining chip in future NAFTA talks, and you can bet that the Canadians will be expected to ante up some major concessions in return for the exemption. That means no talk of walking away from the table, nor any hint of making concessions under pressure.
Canada, the biggest supplier of steel to the United States, escaped Trump's steep import duties along with Mexico in his announcement on Thursday, but the two countries could still face steel import duties if they fail to negotiate a successful NAFTA trade deal.
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