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.