December 15, 2018

Turnbull government opens door to supporting WTO action against Trump

12 March 2018, 10:01 | Joann Bryant

Markets Insider

AK Steel stock

European Union nations will be taxed under the new tariffs, according to the latest negotiation between EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem and US representatives. But the bigger problem is the USA protectionist move is not confined to steel and aluminum.

Trump first drew the link between the metals tariffs and NAFTA on Monday in a Twitter message. If the European Union is unable to secure an exemption, there are fears that it could lead for a "tit for tat" trade war between the two close allies.

"Working very quickly on a security agreement so we don't have to impose steel or aluminium tariffs on our ally, the great nation of Australia!" And so, a reckless combination of state ownership and massive government funding has led to a glut of steel being continually shipped to the USA - and often at below the cost of production.

Fredrik Erixon and Hanna Deringer are director and policy analyst, respectively, at the European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE), a policy research think tank dedicated to trade policy and other international economic policy issues of importance to Europe.

Even before entering politics, Trump the businessman and real estate developer railed against what he viewed as unfair trade practices that left the United States economy and American workers vulnerable.

The Moon Jae-in government vows to persuade the Trump administration to give an exemption to Korea as it did to Canada, Mexico and Australia.

If ever we needed a further example of why the United Kingdom should get out of the EU and its pernicious Customs Union, this looming trade war is it. After a meeting with Lighthizer over the weekend Cecilia Malmström, the European Union's top trade official, said there was still "no immediate clarity on the exact USA procedure for exemption", so the discussions will continue this week. NAFTA's legal structure, which offers its members tariff-free access to each other's markets, was a major complication in applying the tariffs to Canada and Mexico, according to a prominent Washington trade lobbyist, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

The two also met with Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan Hiroshige Seko, and all three pledged in a statement afterward to work together to fight dumping that hurts jobs and industries around the world. "So nobody owes him anything, and that makes it a lot easier for them to retaliate". Agricultural groups express alarm that their products are likely to be hard hit by retaliatory actions, while automobile manufacturers and companies that rely on aluminum cans - for beer and soup, for example - have warned the tariffs will raise costs for consumers. President Trump doesn't believe they should pay no price if they refuse. And yet they send their cars and everything else back into the USA, he said. It agrees with ACC that the tariffs will be harmful to competitiveness.

Current and former White House officials often describe the president as being preoccupied with keeping campaign promises to his loyal supporters, even if those decisions are unpopular with a broader swath of Americans.

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