Trump keeps allies guessing on steel tariffs ahead of deadline

Trump Postpones Decision on Steel Tariffs for Many Allies, EU for Another Month

The decision came just hours before temporary exemptions were set to expire at 12:01 a.m. ET (0401 GMT) on Tuesday.

South Korea agreed to limit its exports to the United States as part of broader discussions involved in updating its bilateral trade agreement with the USA and was granted a permanent exemption.

In exchange for a permanent exemption from the metals tariffs, the Trump administration is pushing countries to accept quotas on the amount of steel and aluminum they export to the US.

Ross said on Friday that the United States wanted "quotas, if not tariffs " on European Union metal shipments.

The EU and other countries have been asked to spell out what limits they could accept on the amount of steel they export to the United States, how they would address the issue of excess production of steel and aluminum and how they would support the US before worldwide bodies like the World Trade Organization. Forcing governments to limit shipments of goods violates WTO rules, which prohibit so-called voluntary export restraints.

Merkel said Europe was "resolved to defend its interests within the multilateral trade framework".

In her meeting with Trump, Merkel said, she saw little progress in obtaining permanent exemptions. Before the tariffs were introduced, French President Emmanuel Macron said that the bloc "won't talk about anything while there's a gun pointed at our head".

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Trump has invoked a 1962 trade law to erect protections for US steel and aluminum producers on national security grounds, amid a worldwide glut of both metals that is largely blamed on excess production in China.

Mnuchin noted in the interview that he is not concerned about China's retaliatory measures in response to United States tariffs.

The US had a $337 billion trade deficit in goods and services with China a year ago.

The steel and aluminum tariffs are fueling tensions with some of America's strongest allies, just as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin leads a delegation this week to China for talks on what the US sees as Beijing's unfair trading practices. The others in the delegation, which begins on Thursday: The Honorable Terry Branstad, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States to China The Honorable Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce The Honorable Peter Navarro, Assistant to the President.

"The president has not made any decision yet", Mnuchin said during an interview on Fox Business.

Most analysts, however, think it's unlikely the talks will reach permanent agreements and will more likely mark the start of longer-term negotiations.

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