One day before controversial new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports on several U.S. allies were to take effect, the Trump administration on Monday extended trade negotiations with Canada, Mexico and the European Union (EU) for another 30 days.
The White House said it also reached a final agreement with South Korea on steel imports, and “agreements in principle” with Argentina, Australia and Brazil over imports of steel and aluminum, with details to be finalized shortly.
President Trump first proposed levying a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminum imports on March 1. Three weeks later, he issued a proclamation calling for suspending the tariffs until May 1 while negotiations were ongoing.
“In all of these negotiations, the administration is focused on quotas that will restrain imports, prevent transshipment, and protect the national security,” the White House said. “These agreements underscore the Trump administration’s successful strategy to reach fair outcomes with allies to protect our national security and address global challenges to the steel and aluminum industries.”
On Tuesday, the EU said the decision by the United States to extend the EU’s exemption from the tariffs “prolongs market uncertainty, which is already affecting business decisions.
“The EU should be fully and permanently exempted from these measures, as they cannot be justified on the grounds of national security. Overcapacity in the steel and aluminum sectors does not originate in the EU. On the contrary, the EU has over the past months engaged at all possible levels with the U.S. and other partners to find a solution to this issue.”
Trade groups representing the oil and gas industry have argued that specialty steel products, which are used in pipelines and at liquefied natural gas export facilities, meet the criteria for an exemption from the tariffs. In response, the Department of Commerce on March 18 outlined a procedure for the industry to request such exemptions and immediately began processing them.
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