Australia dodges United States metal tariffs after Trump, Turnbull do deal

Cheryl Sanders
March 11, 2018

"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.

Asked on ABC's Insiders program whether, despite being assured of an exemption, the Turnbull government would stand up on principle for other countries hit by the tariffs - for instance by supporting action in the WTO - Mr Ciobo said Australia would "practise what we preach on free trade". Trump had indicated he would be flexible toward "real friends".

According to the report, Australian Ambassador to Washington Joe Hockey, called Norman on behalf of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, to give Turnbull Trump's personal cell phone number.

Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said the tariff announcement by US President Donald Trump was disappointing, but that Australia could yet secure an exemption despite not being immediately granted one.

In Brussels on Saturday, US trade representative Robert Lighthizer met with his European Union and Japanese counterparts, but the meeting offered little new clarity amid fears of a global trade war. A great country, a country long term partner will be doing something with them.

"We can welcome this cautiously, but I emphasize caution", Turnbull said. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that Japan's steel and aluminum shipments posed no threat to US national security.

On Thursday, Trump had said that America will remain open to modifying or removing the tariffs for individual nations.

USA trading partners were given a 15 day window to negotiate exemptions to the tariffs, due to come into effect in a fortnight. "We talked about the military and security relationship, how strong that is. Under the direction of the president, the USTR is responsible for negotiations with countries that seek an alternative means to the steel and aluminium tariffs", the White House said. "This process will be managed by the Department of Commerce in consultation with other federal agencies", it said.

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