Sunday 23rd Jul, 2017

Aussie steel to be exempt from Trump’s tariffs

Donald Trump. Photo: Creative Commons / Gage Skidmore
Donald Trump. Photo: Creative Commons / Gage Skidmore

A successful negotiation between Malcolm Turnbull, US President Donald Trump, and their respective finance ministers, means Australian steel and aluminium exports are set to be exempt from Trump’s import tariff program, according to multiple reports.

The Trump administration is expected to announce harsh import tariffs on steel and aluminium, with the new president reportedly calling for tariffs as high as 20%, to help boost the United States’ embattled manufacturing sector.

But according to reports in the AFR and The Guardian this week, Australian metals manufacturers will be exempt from the changes.

The result comes after a reported meeting at the G20 conference in Paris, between Turnbull, Trump, Australian finance minister Mathias Cormann and United States Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin.

“The prime minister spoke to President Trump directly, explaining the Australian position and our concern that should the United States decide to pursue any trade measures in relation to steel and aluminium as a result of their current investigation, then we would like to see Australia exempted from any such measures,” Cormann said on ABC Radio this week.

“We understand US concerns about the pressure their steel and aluminium sectors are under as a result of non-market policies pursued by some countries.

“But Australia is a close ally and a trusted trading partner,” he said. “We are not responsible for the issues that the United States are concerned about.

“As a result of the strong representations by the prime minister, the Australian position is well understood,” the minister concluded.