Tariff Exemption Deadline at Midnight for EU, Others

President Trump is seeking to use the tariff threat to pressure Canada and Mexico to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement more to his liking

Tariff Exemption Deadline at Midnight for EU, Others

In a previous interview with Bloomberg, US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said some countries would be granted relief from the tariffs, though he declined to say which. China has been the main focus of the tariffs; the USA has a $502tn trade deficit with the state.

Trump met last week with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel but he gave no indication of whether he would extend or make permanent the tariff exemption for the European Union, which exported over $7.7 billion of steel and aluminum to the USA market previous year. Brussels has already threatened to hit back with tariffs on American imports such as motorcycles, jeans, orange juice, bourbon, and peanut butter-after Canada, the European Union is the biggest importer (chart in German) by volume of that quintessentially American product. Trump has asked China to cut the gap by $100 billion and open up the Asian nation's markets to American products such as cars.

The German chancellor also said she met with French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday and British Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday, on her way back from speaking with US President Donald Trump on Friday.

The European Union's trade commissioner is holding last-ditch talks with the USA today in a bid to gain permanent exemption from the Trump administration's tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.

Since March, South Korea has agreed to revisions to its free trade agreement with Washington, in return for a permanent waiver on the metal tariffs. But over the weekend, Century Aluminum Co.

That exemption period officially ends May 1, and it's not clear whether the White House will extend Canada's exemption. For instance, Canada and Mexico would be granted an extension because they have made progress on steel and aluminum issues in NAFTA talks, which resume late next week.

LME copper and aluminum rose on Monday, Reuters reported, as the US dollar fell back from a recent three-month high.

The Commerce Department said it has already boosted staff numbers, and wants approval from Congress to use more of its budgeted funds to help solve the problem.

The uncertainty over steel tariffs isn't just causing unease among allies. No decision on a request can be made until it's been reviewed and posted online for 30 days for any objections.

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