Turn­bull comes up Trumps in tar­iffs


AUS­TRALIA will be ex­empt from Amer­i­can tar­iffs on steel and aluminium im­ports after eight months of lob­by­ing by politi­cians and busi­ness lead­ers.

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump phoned Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull about 7.30am yes­ter­day to con­firm his new 25 per cent tar­iff on im­ported steel and 10 per cent on aluminium — due to be­gin in a fort­night — won’t be im­posed on Aus­tralian met­als.

Mr Turn­bull said he high­lighted the “fair and reciprocal” trade re­la­tion­ship be­tween the US and Aus­tralia dur­ing the 20-minute phone call.

The Prime Min­is­ter dis­missed spec­u­la­tion the two lead­ers are work­ing on a new “se­cu­rity agree­ment” after Mr Trump hinted that the ex­emp­tion was linked to a “fair and reciprocal mil­i­tary and trade re­la­tion­ship” in a tweet.

Mr Turn­bull said Mr Trump was re­fer­ring to the le­gal pa­per­work and procla­ma­tion that will lock in the ex­emp­tion.

“We have the clos­est pos­si­ble mil­i­tary and se­cu­rity al­liance with the United States and it gets closer all of the time,” he said.

Aus­tralian of­fi­cials thought they se­cured an ex­emp­tion after heavy lob­by­ing from Mr Turn­bull and Fi­nance Min­is­ter Mathias Cor­mann at the G20 sum­mit in Ham­burg last year.

But last month Mr Turn­bull left Wash­ing­ton un­sure whether Aus­tralia would be spared from the tar­iffs.

Aussie golf­ing legend Greg Nor­man — a close friend of Mr Trump’s — as well as busi­ness lead­ers in­clud­ing Dow Chem­i­cal chief An­drew Liveris and News Corp chief ex­ec­u­tive Robert Thom­son signed a let­ter last week to fight for Aus­tralia’s po­si­tion.

In a rare sign of bipartisanship, La­bor spokesman Ja­son Clare con­grat­u­lated the gov­ern­ment for broking the deal.

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