Some of President Trump’s proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports have been delayed for an additional 30 days. The announcement was made just hours before the tariffs would have kicked in. The White House said this would be the final period to reach a deal with the key trading partners.
Earlier this year, the Commerce Department issued a report alleging that the United States’ reliance on imported steel and aluminum posed a national security threat. In March, the Trump administration used that finding to announce steep tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum. Trump says that the trade imbalances have led to the closure of numerous U.S. factories and the loss of American jobs.
The White House said in a statement the administration would again postpone imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. The statement also said the administration had reached agreements on metals imports with Argentina, Australia, and Brazil. The details of those deals will be finalized in the next 30 days.
Canadian, Mexican and U.S. officials are meeting in Washington this week to discuss a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Another delegation that includes Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer, and National Economic Council head Larry Kudlow will go to Beijing to hold talks on trade. U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad will join them.
In a brief statement, the White House said, “In all of these negotiations, the administration is focused on quotas that will restrain imports, prevent transshipment and protect the national security.” South Korea recently amended its U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement to cut its steel exports to the United States by 30 percent below the average of the past three years. In return, the administration set aside the tariffs it had proposed on South Korean steel and aluminum manufacturers.
European leaders have threatened countermeasures if the Trump administration goes ahead with the proposed tariffs. On the list of items that would be targeted are motorcycles and bourbon, which are produced in Republican electoral strongholds.