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Australia may escape new U.S. tariffs

11 March 2018, 01:13 | Marta Robbins

Malcolm Turnbull has warned the US off its plan to impose hefty new tariffs on Australia

Malcolm Turnbull has warned the US off its plan to impose hefty new tariffs on Australia

"The United States has been taken advantage of for too long, by too many countries, when it comes to trade", Mr Pence said. "Thank you for confirming new tariffs won't have to be imposed on Australian steel & aluminum - good for jobs in Australia and in US!", Turnbull said on Twitter.

BlueScope chief executive Mark Vassella was at the AFR summit with the prime minister, who he said had "worked really hard" to get an exemption.

Initially, only Mexico and Canada were exempt from paying the steep tariffs during negotiations over the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA), but the president's latest tweets seem to suggest Australia will also be exempt.

University of Western Australia professor and Perth USAsia Centre Peter Dean told The New Daily Mr Turnbull's successful White House visit was "diametrically opposed" to the leaders' first contact 12 months ago.

Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Philip Lowe, said the decision to impose tariffs on such products is "highly regrettable", but insisted that nothing should be done in response and open trade should be defended, Efe news reported.

BlueScope ships Australian steel to the United States west coast to make into roofing products because of the high cost of freight from the east coast.

"We are living in historic times of unraveling, " he said.

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On Thursday, Trump approved a plan to levy a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent on aluminum.

"As a country with a high reliance on trade, the risks of broader damage to the global economy from a trade war are great".

"History tells us they are bad, and they end up causing not just a contraction in the global trade but, as a result of that, a contraction in global growth", he told the ABC.

Australia's peak industry association says exemption from the United States' steel and aluminium tariffs would be a "partial victory" only, with many local companies still likely to be hit by hefty imposts.

"We've put a really solid case".

Despite being one of the world's largest suppliers of raw commodity, iron ore, Australia is a small global exporter of steel.



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