Published: Sat, March 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Concern mounts as Trump sticks with tariff level

Concern mounts as Trump sticks with tariff level

He told Fox Business on Wednesday night that Trump intends to sign a proclamation that includes a clause to exempt the two neighbouring countries from the tariffs, which could come into effect within 15 to 30 days.

"Because our countries are so well connected, there is a close alignment within that, and when we move forward on things that are going to be good for the Canadian economy, and good for American middle class as well, we know that we're always going to be on the right track with this president", he said. "I just want fairness", he said.

The major problem here being that Trump has a different idea of a "fair" NAFTA than both Canada and Mexico. A permanent exclusion of the two neighbours will, however, depend on the outcome of the NAFTA renegotiation talks, he said.

The process of announcing the penalties has been the subject of an intense debate and chaotic exchanges within the White House, pitting hard-liners against free trade advocates such as outgoing economic adviser Gary Cohn aiming to add more flexibility for US trading partners. The strings Trump attached to his tariff exemption could tie down an elephant.

Canada, in particular, has a trade deficit with the USA on both steel and aluminum, meaning we're buying more than we're selling.

Trump's proclamations on steel and aluminum called on Mexico and Canada to "take action to prevent transshipment" of steel and aluminum through their countries and into the U.S.

Without disclosing the names of any other country that could hope for exemption, Sanders said: "That would be a case-by-case and country-by-country basis, but it would be determined whether or not there is a national security exemption".

"Congress can not be complicit as the administration courts economic disaster", said Sen.

The British government said tariffs "are not the right way to address the global problem of overcapacity" and said it would work with European Union partners to "consider the scope for exemptions outlined".

"Exemptions will not address the fundamental problems tariffs will create for US vehicle and truck manufacturing". But for now, Trump's rhetoric keeps the possibility of an all-out trade war alive, crystallizing the worst fears of many American CEOs, including those who thought they had a friend in the White House.

Earlier in the week, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross tried to downplay the impact by going on television with a can of Campbell's Soup and telling viewers its price would increase by a fraction of a penny. "We're not trying to blow up the world". But Trump said other American allies can get exemptions later, in exchange for something in return. In a tweet, he said the " acting swiftly on Intellectual Property theft". But at the end, it was the hawkish figures on strategic trade policy such as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Chief Trade Adviser Peter Navarro who had the upper hand alongside President Donald Trump who was really pleased to realize one of his main electoral pledges.It was no secret that the USA gave up its promises on preserving the liberal worldwide trading order long before, but the imposition of these tariffs carries the debate on strategic trade policy to the level of national security.

The official, who was not authorized to discuss internal deliberations and spoke on the condition of anonymity, said an announcement on the findings of the report - and possible retaliatory actions - was expected within the next three weeks.

In the US, meanwhile, a Democratic party takeover of at least one branch of Congress in elections in November would bring more stability to Washington by curbing President Trump's ability to expand protectionist policies, he said.

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