Mexico and Canada may be exempted from Donald Trump's steel and aluminium tariffs on national security grounds, admits White House

Washington: The White House, on Thursday, said that some countries, including Mexico and Canada, may get exemption from Donald Trump's new aluminium and steel tariffs on national security grounds. This exception could be based on America's national security interest, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters, days after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross insisted that there was going to be no country-specific exemptions.

Last week, Trump said that he has decided to impose a 25 percent import duty on steel and another 10 percent on aluminium. This drew a sharp reaction from the European Union and countries like China. Trump insisted that steps like these are necessary and the US would overcome any trade war as a result of this because it has a $800 billion trade deficit.

Canada has said that such an import tariff is unacceptable. However, White House said that its northern neighbour would be exempted from such a new import tariff.

File image of Donald Trump. AP

File image of Donald Trump. AP

"We expect that the president will sign something by the end of the week and there are potential carveouts for Mexico and Canada based on national security and possibly for other countries as well, based on that process," Sanders told reporters. "That would be case-by-case and country-by-country basis, but it would be determined whether or not there is a national security exemption," she asserted. The president, she said, has been very clear that he wants to address the trade imbalance that the US has with a number of countries. He feels that the US has been taken advantage for far too long and he's not going to allow that to continue under his watch, Sanders said.

In a tweet, Trump said that China has been asked to develop a plan for the year for a $1 billion reduction in the trade deficit. Sanders said the administration had conversations with officials last week. "We're going to continue those conversations with them," she said.

Responding to a question on global reaction, Sanders said Trump has been talking about this for a long time. "It shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody. Other countries have created unfair trade policies for decades that have harmed our national and economic security," she said. "The president wants a strong economy and a strong national security, and a strong US economy benefits all Americans, particularly by helping us maintain a strong military and defend US national security interests. And he's going to continue every day to fight for making sure that we have strong, both national and economic security," Sanders said.


Updated Date: Mar 08, 2018 09:25 AM

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