EU, Japan and Australia try to secure exemptions on US metal tariffs


FILES-ECONOMY-STEEL-US-TRADE-TARIFF-FRANCEIn this file photo taken on April 12, 2016 a worker agitates molten steel during the smelting and casting process at the Saint-Gobain PAM factory in Pont-à-Mousson, north-eastern France (AFP PHOTO / SEBASTIEN BOZON)

Envoys from the EU, Japan, and the U.S. are meeting in Brussels over the upcoming tariffs on steel and aluminum in a bid to secure exemptions.

CGTN’s Toby Muse has more on whether anything has been worked out among these longtime allies.

Both Japan and the European Union have failed so far to secure exemptions for steel import tariffs in talks with U.S. trade representatives.

There are fears that without such exemptions there could be a trade war.

The EU and Japan are demanding exemptions, given that they’re long-standing allies of the U.S. Talks between the trade representatives are set to continue next week.

So far, President Donald Trump has exempted Canada and Mexico. He has said that countries whose steel imports don’t harm U.S. industry will be free of the new tariffs.

Trump signaled that Australia will likely be exempt from the tariffs. He tweeted: “Spoke to PM @TurnbullMalcolm of Australia. He is committed to having a very fair and reciprocal military and trade relationship. Working very quickly on a security agreement so we don’t have to impose steel or aluminum tariffs on our ally.”

Australia welcomed the announcement, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull saying that he is “very pleased the President was able to confirm that he would not have to impose tariffs on Australian steel and aluminum.”

Trump’s new tariffs are expected to take effect in about two weeks. The EU has threatened to retaliate on American products, such as peanut butter and orange juice.

Many foreign governments have criticized the move to raise tariffs. However, Trump’s action has been praised by U.S. steel and aluminum workers.