The United States ended a delay of steel and aluminum tariffs for the European Union, Canada, and Mexico with a proclamation on Thursday.
The proclamation means that steel and aluminum tariffs of 25 and 10 percent, respectively, temporarily delayed for these and various other countries, will now be imposed on the EU, Canada, and Mexico.
Findings of section 232 investigations into the effect of steel and aluminum imports on the national security of the United States were released in January. President Donald Trump concurred in a March proclamation with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s findings from the January reports that included “steel mill articles are being imported into the United States in such quantities and under such circumstances as to threaten to impair the national security of the United States.”
As a result of these findings, President Trump imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel imports. The president added a caveat that countries could discuss with the U.S. “alternative ways to address the threatened impairment of the national security caused by imports from that country.” A similar finding was issued regarding aluminum imports.
Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, South Korea, and the European Union took advantage of the offer. The U.S. afforded delay in implementation of the tariffs based on the “important security relationship” with each of these countries and pending continued discussions of the issue.
Canada and Mexico were given the delay pending the ongoing NAFTA trade negotiations. Those negotiations have continued, but U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has expressed at times that the negotiations have not progressed as quickly as had been hoped.
The U.S. came to “satisfactory alternative” agreements with Argentina, Australia, and Brazil to extend exemption while details of those were finalized. The agreements were outlined in Thursday’s proclamation.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker responded to news of the U.S. tariffs on the EU, calling the decision “protectionism, pure and simple,” according to the Associated Press. “It’s totally unacceptable that a country is imposing unilateral measures when it comes to world trade,” said Junker, who threatened the EU would soon issue “counterbalancing measures.”
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