New Straits Times

Australia seeks Trump tariffs exemption


SYDNEY: Australia yesterday warned against tit-for-tat retaliatio­n and the outbreak of a trade war that could slow global economic growth, as it pushed to be excluded from United States President Donald Trump’s steel and aluminium tariffs.

Canberra has sought to be exempt from the hefty tariffs, citing an understand­ing reached with the US at G20 meetings last year.

There are local industry concerns that the tariffs could see cheap steel destined for the US flood the domestic market instead.

“We’ve seen over the last 48 hours commentary from Canada, from the European Union. We’ve seen the US government going back about tariffs on cars,” Trade Minister Steve Ciobo told Sky News Australia yesterday.

“That’s what concerns me, if we continue to see an escalation of rhetoric, and, ultimately, action around tariffs applying for imports and exports across multiple economies, this will lead to a slow-down in growth.”

Ciobo said he spoke with his US counterpar­t Wilbur Ross on Saturday, but was unable to secure an exemption guarantee, adding that it would “ultimately come down to a decision of the president”.

A US official said on Friday no countries will be exempt, but added that possible exemptions to the measures would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

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