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Trump to authorize tariffs as White House opens way for more exemptions

Reuters  |  WASHINGTON 

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The raised the possibility on Wednesday that impending hefty U.S. tariffs on and aluminium imports could exclude a clutch of countries besides and as looked set to authorize the measures as early as Thursday.

Trump was expected to sign a presidential proclamation to establish the tariffs during a ceremony on Thursday, but a said later it could slide into Friday because documents had to be cleared through a legal process.

A senior U.S. said the measures would take effect about two weeks after Trump signs the proclamation.

The tariffs would impose duties of 25 percent on and 10 percent on aluminium to counter cheap imports, especially from China, that the says undermine U.S. industry and jobs.

It was not immediately clear whether the proclamation would list countries to be exempted, as pressure grew for Trump to exclude U.S. allies from the action.

"We expect that the will sign something by the end of the week and there are potential carve-outs for and based on national security, and possibly other countries as well based on that process," told a "It will be country by country, and it will be based on national security."

The Washington Post, citing administration officials, reported on Wednesday night that Trump planned to offer and a 30-day exemption from the tariffs that could be extended based on progress in renegotiating the Agreement.

The president said on Monday that Canada and Mexico would only be excluded after the successful renegotiation of NAFTA.

Efforts by Trump and U.S. trade negotiators to link the NAFTA talks to the duties have received short shrift from and

Action that does not include exemptions risks retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports - not least by Canada and - and complicates already tough trade talks on the NAFTA.

The benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 stock index ended slightly lower following a volatile session after Trump promised the tariffs but then said Mexico and Canada could be exempt.

The closed 0.05 percent lower after being down 0.4 percent, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 0.33 percent. The U.S. dollar pared gains to end little changed, while the Canadian dollar and Mexican peso pared some losses.

Markets were rattled by Tuesday's resignation announcement by Trump's chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, who was seen as a bulwark against Trump's economic nationalism.

Cohn's departure, after an internal over Trump's plans to impose the tariffs, clears the way for greater influence by trade hardliners such as and Peter Navarro, Trump's

Sanders said Trump was considering several candidates to fill Cohn's position, while Navarro said he was not short-listed for the job.

In his first tweet on Wednesday, the showed no sign of backing away from the tariffs, saying the had lost more than 55,000 factories and 6 million jobs and let its trade deficit soar since the 1989-1993 administration of President

Later, his tweets turned to trade with China, demanding that lay out plans for reducing its trade surplus with the by $1 billion, which appeared to have been raised during a meeting with a top Chinese last week.

"has been asked to develop a plan for the year of a One Billion Dollar reduction in their massive Trade Deficit with the United States," Trump tweeted, without saying where the message had been conveyed.

ran a record goods trade surplus with the last year of $375.2 billion


Opposition to the blanket tariffs mounted among lawmakers and the business community. More than 100 House of Republicans, including Kevin Brady, of the House that oversees U.S. trade policy, wrote to Trump praising him for standing up to "bad actors," but emphasized that fairly should be excluded from the tariffs.

In a separate letter, Iowa's congressional delegation, including two Republican senators, warned that the tariffs would hurt the state's farmers and

The of the influential U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Tom Donohue, warned about the impact to the

"We won't drive the to over 3 percent growth or continue to create jobs if we go down this path," said Donohue, the chamber's "We urge the administration to take this risk seriously."

A report from the on Wednesday noted that four of the U.S. central bank's 12 districts saw a "marked increase" in prices partly because of a decline in foreign competition.

With an expected increase in demand, said it would restart one of two blast furnaces and and rehire 500 employees at its Granite City, Illinois, plant. Shares of Nucor, and lifted the 1500

(Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton, David Shepardson, Susan Heavey, and in Washington, Tom Miles in Geneva and Phil Blenkinsop in Luxembourg; Writing by and Lesley Wroughton; Editing by and Peter Cooney)

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, March 08 2018. 08:10 IST