Turnbull government 'called in' Greg Norman to lobby Donald Trump over tariffs

by Antonio Miles March 12, 2018, 6:30
Turnbull government 'called in' Greg Norman to lobby Donald Trump over tariffs

Malmstroem said in a statement that she had a "frank" discussion with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer about the steel tariffs, insisting that "the European Union must be excluded" because it is a close U.S. ally.

"Due to the unique nature of our relationship with Canada and Mexico. we're gonna hold off the tariff for those two countries", Trump said during the ceremony.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters in South Australia on Saturday that he was "very pleased the president was able to confirm that he would not have to impose tariffs on Australian steel and aluminum".

Several Asian nations that are major trading partners with the USA reacted strongly Friday to a US decision to impose tariffs on metal imports, raising concerns of global trade conflicts. "We will continue to work closely with the federal government to fight any unfair tariffs in the future".

Congressional Republicans and business groups have been bracing for the impact of expected tariffs of 25 per cent on imported steel and 10 per cent on aluminum, appearing resigned to additional protectionist trade actions as Trump signalled upcoming economic battles with China.

"The actions we are taking today are not a matter of choice, they are a matter of necessity for our security", Mr Trump said.

Foreign leaders have warned that this move by the U.S. could start a trade war.

The EU and Japan past year formally agreed the broad outlines of a landmark trade deal that was announced as a direct challenge to the protectionism championed by Trump.

Trump pushed back as he visited western Pennsylvania, in the heart of United States steel country, where he boasted of his tariffs and denounced low-quality imports. "It's crap", Trump said, earning cheers from the crowd.

United States allies were particularly floored by Mr Trump's justification for the tariffs.

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NLMK USA and California Steel Industries-which, like the Calvert mill, convert slabs-have warned that tariffs on foreign slabs pose a threat to their business model. "Steel is back, and aluminium is back".

The looming departure of White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive who has opposed the promised tariffs, set off anxiety among business leaders and investors anxious about a potential trade war.

With tensions at a peak, officials kept a tight lid on the content of the meeting and sought to keep low expectations for any breakthrough.

The EU is also readying a list of countermeasures targeting about $3.5 billion in annual trade. "Our trade relationship, as the president acknowledges, is a fair and reciprocal one", Turnbull said.

Trump danced around the question of whether the threat of tariffs will be used to bully Canada and Mexico at the NAFTA bargaining table.

Australia would not have to provide anything in return for the exemption, he added.

Complicating matters, Trump indicated that Australia┬┤s carve-out was linked to an unspecified "security agreement" outside of trade policy.

This shed light on Trump's attacks against Germany - the biggest economy in the European Union - that have accused Berlin of contributing much less than the United States toward the funding of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Flanked by steel mill workers carrying hard hats, he signed proclamations invoking a rarely used USA law authorising presidential action against imports that undermine national security.

Australian steel and aluminium account for just a small percentage of the U.S. import market, but Canberra has warned the tariffs would distort trade and lead to job losses.

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