Foreign Trade

Trump Signs Metals Tariffs Sparing Some Allies

from The Wall Street Journal,

Canada and Mexico are exempt from the start of steel and aluminum levies, but continuance is dependent on renegotiating Nafta.

President Donald Trump on Thursday signed proclamations imposing steep tariffs on steel and aluminum but granting the administration flexibility on the levels and the ability to spare critical U.S. allies. When Mr. Trump and aides first announced plans a week ago to impose tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum imports, they said in the following days that those numbers were fixed and that no countries would be excluded.

But both Mr. Trump and a senior administration official, speaking Thursday morning ahead of the 3:30 p.m. announcement, indicated that the planned tariff policy had evolved significantly during fierce internal debates over the past few days, as well as warnings from close military allies that blocking their exports could undermine their relations with the U.S. The details of the tariffs now appear dependent on negotiations with allies likely to unfold in the coming weeks and months.

“This is a wonderfully flexible document,” the official said, referring to the two proclamations.

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