EU Dismisses Trump's Car Threats, Vows to 'Stand Up to Bullies'

EU Dismisses Trump's Car Threats, Vows to 'Stand Up to Bullies'

Japan and Australia are among others asking to be exempt from the proposed import duties of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent of aluminum.

The tycoon's threat is part of a dispute over an announcement of tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, although the Trump administration has said it will consider exceptions and has already spared Mexico and Canada.

Australia has a trade and investment deficit with the U.S., which is understood to have played a considerable role in alleviating Mr Trump's sense of grievance.

Mr Trump tweeted after speaking by phone with Mr Turnbull that the USA was "working very quickly on a security agreement so we don't have to impose steel or aluminum tariffs on our ally, the great nation of Australia".

"If they drop their horrific barriers and tariffs on USA products going in, we will likewise drop ours".

This shed some light on the tycoon's specific barbs against Germany - the biggest economy in the European Union - that have finger-pointed Berlin for contributing much less than the USA towards the funding of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

"To impose tariffs that would hurt workers on both sides of the border - it's not like that that we'll negotiate a better NAFTA deal". House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said he disagrees with the move, and other congressional Republicans are hoping to block the duties with legislative action.

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Mr. Trump hinted at being more lenient toward allies like Canada, Mexico and Australia during a Cabinet meeting last week. Former president George Bush imposed steel product tariffs in 2002, but withdrew them later, with little impact. For if Trump makes the United States an erratic and chaotic trade partner, Australia will be seen by China, South Korea, India and ASEAN as safe, reliable and on side in the Asia-Pacific.

As noted by Bloomberg's Leonid Bershidsky, Trump's gripes about the modest US deficit in trade with the EU are overstated; almost 60 percent of USA imports are "related party" goods and services produced by US companies overseas, and American companies in Europe ($720 billion) significantly outproduced European companies in the US ($584 billion) in 2016. "In the end, no country wins when tariffs are selectively applied", he said.

And without a clear-cut exemption process, the move aimed primarily at punishing China now risks leaving USA allies from Japan to the European Union caught in the crossfire. Canada and Mexico account for a quarter of the steel imported by the U.S.

The EU has been talking with partners about a legal challenge at the World Trade Organization to Mr Trump's plan and is considering safeguards to prevent steel and aluminium, diverted from the United States, flooding into Europe.

Lawrence Valley and the Great Lakes, to the ports of the east and west coasts and urban centres across the country, Canada's steel and aluminum industries provide thousands of Canadians with good, middle class jobs and play an important role in our economy.

"The exemption represented a positive step in the right direction but we still have a lot more work to do", Trudeau told the room full of aluminum workers. Beijing said it was ready to counterpunch if the USA tariffs hurt Chinese companies, though in a statement Friday it made no specific retaliation threat. "Industries that are net consumers of steel and aluminum in the US now face cost disadvantages relative to their global competitors, especially at a time when the labor market is tight and wage inflation is picking up", he wrote. The E.U. has responded by threatening to increase tariffs on major USA exports - namely Levi jeans, Jack Daniels whiskey and Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

The decision is likely to play well in steel towns and the industrial mid-west but Congress representatives from agricultural, export-orientated states, will probably fear retaliation, as will those from the IT areas like Seattle and Silicon Valley, which rely on global markets for their success.

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