Trump's Steel, Aluminum Tariffs Exempt Canada, Mexico

California's largest steel company worried it could be harmed by Trump's tariffs

USA 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.

"We have to protect and build our steel and aluminum industries, while at same time showing flexibility and cooperation between those friends of ours on a trade basis and military basis", he said.

"A strong steel and aluminum industry are vital to our national security, absolutely vital", he said.

Al Jazeera's Paul Brennan, reporting from Brussels, said the EU's real concern is that it will now have to deal with a massive amount of steel imports.

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

Announcing the move Trump leaned on a little-used and decades-old national security clause in USA trade law but said Canada and Mexico would be excluded and other countries could negotiate exemptions.

Then, midway through talking to reporters last week, Trump announced the tariffs after all: a 25% tax on steel imports and 10% on aluminum imports.

Some pundits and lawmakers fear the tariffs could set off a trade war with the European Union that could prove destructive to some US industries, as well as the nation's economic vitality.

The senior administration official lambasted critics of the president's tariffs saying, "Nobody inside the beltway should express any sort of surprise".

The new tariffs will take effect in 15 days, with America's neighbors indefinitely spared "to see if we can make the deal", Mr. Trump said.

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Ross, who founded and sold a steel company in the early 2000s, said national security is at stake because China supplies a chunk of the steel that finds its way to the U.S. Trump and members of his administration claim China ships steel through other countries, a practice known as transshipping. In addition to such iconic brands, the American products that would face a tit-for-tat European Union tariff of 25 percent range from steel bars and motor boats to t-shirts and orange juice, peanut butter and cranberries.

Trump said the tariff's would "defend America's national security". He discussed the tariffs by telephone on Friday with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia and President Mauricio Macri of Argentina, the White House said.

Trump has declared that trade wars are "easy to win" and campaigned on the promise to renew American industries by slapping barriers on trade from other countries.

Trump blamed the deficit on his White House predecessors, while also taking aim at Beijing.

The EU has become increasingly exasperated with Trump's "America First" agenda, viewing it as a threat to the multilateral trade order that the United States played a leading role in building after the second World War.

Next week, Trudeau will tour regions of Canada that are heavily reliant on the steel and aluminum industries in a show of solidarity for those who would be hurt most by stiff US tariffs.

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, meanwhile, offered a more mixed take on the president's move to institute new tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum.

Officials would look into the extent of the tariffs and how New Zealand might secure an exemption, Mr Robertson said.

Australia's trade minister said he had preliminary discussions with the USA trade representative, Robert Lighthizer. At the same time, the number of workers in the steel industry has fallen off, so the real decline in the U.S. steel industry employment may be from technology and productivity gains, rather than foreign steel.

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