Trump Commerce Secretary Says Warnings About Tariffs Are Overhyped

How Donald Trump's tariff trade war fears roiled financial markets worldover

The US has announced that it will impose tariffs of 25% and 10% on steel and aluminium imports respectively from any other country.

US allies seeking to avoid the steel and aluminum tariffs approved by President Donald Trump might be asked to step up their financial commitments to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

The contentious tariffs come into effect in 15 days.

The request to Beijing comes amid a heated global debate on trade policy after Trump announced a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports last Thursday.

The president insisted, however, they are necessary to revive America's steel industry.

United States Steel Corp. was forced to idle furnaces and lay off hundreds of workers after cheap imports flooded into the country and pushed down prices.

Railroad tracks run past the blast furnaces of the now-closed Bethlehem Steel mill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, April 21, 2016.

"Slapping aluminum and steel imports with tariffs of this magnitude is misguided".

Business leaders, meanwhile, have continued to sound the alarm about the potential economic fallout from tariffs, with the president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce raising the specter of a global trade war.

Despite objections by many business trade groups, by most Democrats and Republicans, and by a number of advisers in the Trump administration, the United States president forged ahead with his plan on Thursday, keeping a promise he made during his 2016 presidential campaign.

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Allies from the European Union to Australia and Japan have said they'll seek exemptions and dismissed the national security concerns that the USA invoked to justify the tariffs.

U.S. Department of Commerce reports released last month suggested that the quantities and circumstances of steel and aluminum imports "threaten and impair" the country's national security, according to officials.

"We have a very close relationship with Australia, we have a trade surplus with Australia, great country, long term partner, we'll be doing something with them", he said.

Beijing has said it was ready to retaliate in the event Chinese companies are hurt but Friday's statement gave no indication of official action.

It further includes the flexibility for the Trump administration to add or remove countries from the list of those subject to the levy.

Mr Fox says he will travel to Washington next week when he will discuss the new duties.

He repeatedly argued that exemptions would throw the whole thing out of whack, saying that "as soon as you exempt one country, then you have to exempt another country".

It was a decision that served the interests of Americans as well as businesses and workers in this country and Mexico.

With national security as the primary issue, it would be hard to apply the tax to South Korea and Australia, meaning that they could ultimately land on Russian Federation more than nearly any other country, said Levy, now at adjunct professor at Northwestern University. She noted that under WTO rules, once Trump's tariffs come into force in two weeks, the European Union would have 90 days to enact the measures.

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