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NAFTA talks face uphill battle as Mexico, Canada carry on after tariffs

01 June, 2018, 20:34 | Author: Ted Wilson
  • European steelmakers may have to impose quotas to appease President Trump

He said he's still planning to make a trip to Beijing this weekend even after the US announced it would slap tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods, jeopardizing a fragile agreement to reduce the USA trade deficit with China.

Canadian officials said at a press conference that Canada would enact tariffs on $12.8 billion in U.S. exports, effective July 1, to retaliate against Trump's action.

In a statement, the White House said "The United States was unable to reach satisfactory arrangements ... with Canada, Mexico or the European Union after repeatedly delaying tariffs to allow more time for discussions".

The decision angered the three key trading partners.

She spoke on the sidelines of Cansec, an annual arms-trade show where defence companies from around the world showcase their wares to government and military officials. "That has to be done on a political level because the European Commission is also planning other rebalancing measures, it's not only about safeguards", said Axel Eggert, Director-General, European Steel Association (EUROFER).

EU, Canada and Mexico also draw up retaliatory measures to Washington's stinging steel and aluminium duties.

"The Administration will continue to monitor steel and aluminum imports and adjust the measures in effect as necessary to protect the national security of the United States". Canada and Mexico have also threatened retaliation, but have not publicly indicated which US products they would hit.

"The United States has been taken advantage of for many decades on trade".

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said he hoped the U.S. would think again and "tit-for-tat" action was an option.

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European Union trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström has called the approach "pure protectionism", and described it as illegal under WTO trading rules.

In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the US tariffs "totally unacceptable". "They don't quite understand this is going to harm Americans" as well, he said.

Brussels submitted a list to the WTO of U.S. products that could be slapped with punitive import duties.

The measures had actually been decided back in March, but at the time US President Donald Trump gave Canada and the European Union - the biggest sources of foreign aluminium and steel, respectively for the US - a grace period until May 31. When Trump initially announced the tariffs on March 1, the stocks of major automakers and other manufacturing industries dropped the same day. But Ross said Thursday that those talks "are taking longer than we hoped".

The European Union has already notified the World Trade Organization of plans to levy duties on $7.2 billion worth of US exports in response, with the aim of collecting $1.6 billion in tariff revenue. The administration said foreign production of steel and aluminum has driven down prices and hurt US producers, creating what the Commerce Department has called a national security threat.

Mexico announced it will retaliate with duties on United States products including fruit, pork bellies, cheese and flat steel.

What countries will still be exempt?

The countermeasures will hit USA hot and cold rolled steel, plated steel and tubes, the ministry said.

Ross himself heads to Beijing on Friday where he will attempt to get firm deals to export more United States goods in a bid to cut America's US$375 billion (S$502 billion) trade deficit with China. But these must leave our allies saying "with friends like these..."

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