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Tariff plan will be fair, flexible to friendly countries: US

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

today said he would be "fair and flexible" toward "real friends" of the US while imposing punitive trade tariffs on and aluminum as he indicated that Mexico, Canada, and "others" could be exempt.

In a Cabinet meeting, Trump made clear that he was pressing with tariffs of 25 per cent on and 10 per cent on aluminum and said and "others" could be exempt -- in addition to and

and are expected to get temporary relief because of the ongoing negotiations in North Agreement (NAFTA).

Trump's plan for and aluminium import tariffs would face retaliation from America's top trading partners, the and

"We have to do to protect our steel or aluminum in our country," Trump told his Cabinet members in the presence of reporters.

"We are going to be very fair. We are going to be very flexible. We have to protect the American worker, as I said I would do during my campaigns, he said.

Responding to a question, Trump said the US is negotiating NAFTA with and Canada, which will be exempted from the steel and aluminum

If we reach a deal, its most likely that won't be charging those two countries, he said.

Trump reiterated that the would be 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum.

"I'll have a right to go up or down. I'll have a right to drop out countries. We just want fairness because we have not been treated fairly by other countries, he said.

"We have a very close relationship with We have a trade surplus with Australia. A great country, a country long term partner will be doing something with them. We'll be doing something with some other countries, Trump said.

We will be very flexible. At the same time, we have some friends and some enemies where we have been tremendously taken advantage of over the years on trade and on military, he said as he singled out as a likely to face tariffs.

Trump accused of behaving unfairly by contributing much less than the US towards the funding of NATO.

"If you look at NATO where pays one percent and we're paying 4.2 per cent of a much bigger GDP. Not fair, he said.

Referring to NAFTA negotiating with Mexico and Canada, he said: I think we are doing quite well.

Trump said the US has to take steps to protect and build its steel and aluminium industries

"We have to protect & build our Steel and Aluminium Industries while at the same time showing great flexibility and cooperation toward those that are real friends and treat us fairly on both trade and the military," he tweeted earlier.

On March 1, Trump had announced that he would impose 25 per cent import on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium to protect US producers, a move that invited criticism from and the which said it could trigger a trade war.

The reported today that for the month of February totalled 2,428,000 net tonnes (NT). This was a 21.2 per cent decrease from the 3,081,000 permit tons recorded in January and a 15.6 per cent decrease from the January preliminary imports total of 2,875,000 NT.

In February, the largest finished for offshore countries were for (252,000 NT, down 26 per cent from January preliminary), Germany (111,000 NT, up 23 per cent), (110,000 NT, down 22 per cent), (85,000 NT, up 18 per cent) and (68,000 NT, down 42 per cent).

Through the first two months of 2018, the largest offshore suppliers were (591,000 NT, up three per cent), (251,000 NT, up two per cent) and Germany (201,000 NT, up 50 per cent).

More than 100 Republican lawmakers implored Trump to drop his plan and urged him to focus on unfair trading policies of China.

told Fox Business late last night that Trump would sign the executive order later in the day.

The new tariffs would go into effect in 15-30 days, he said.

"The proclamation will have a clause that does not impose these tariffs immediately on and Mexico, and it's going to give us an opportunity and one of the best guys in this administration, the opportunity to negotiate a great deal for this country," Navarro said.

Yesterday, 107 Republican members of the sent a letter to the expressing concern about broad tariffs and calling for him to focus any action on unfair trading partners, like China.

In the letter, Republican lawmakers outlined several recommendations to hold countries accountable without disrupting the flow of fairly that American manufacturers rely on.

The prospect of approaching tariffs has set off furious lobbying from governments around the world, who have tried to sway the administration with offers of friendship and threats of retaliation, reported.

Yesterday, the released a list of American-made goods it would penalise if the tariffs went through.

China, which ranks 11 among the largest sources of imports, cautioned that it was prepared to "make an appropriate and necessary response" should the impose the tariffs.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, March 08 2018. 23:50 IST