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Turnbull says US set to grant Australia tariff exemption

AP  |  Sydney 

The US appeared set to grant an exemption from its new tariffs on and aluminum imports following discussions between and

Trump this week exempted and from the duties 25 per cent on and 10 per cent on aluminum and said US allies would have 15 days to negotiate possible exemptions.

That triggered a diplomatic offensive from Australia, including a letter to Trump signed by business leaders and former Australian golfing great Greg Norman, a Trump supporter and friend.

After a telephone call with on Friday, Trump tweeted: "Spoke to PM @TurnbullMalcolm of He is committed to having a very fair and reciprocal military and trade relationship."

"Working very quickly on a security agreement so we don't have to impose or aluminum tariffs on our ally, the great nation of Australia!"

went a step further, telling reporters in South on Saturday that he was "very pleased the was able to confirm that he would not have to impose tariffs on Australian steel and aluminum."

There appeared some doubt between the two countries over Trump's choice of words. While the Trump highlighted the nations' military and trade relationships, Turnbull moved to clarify Trump's comment about a new "security agreement," saying the was referring to the legal paperwork that would lock the exemption into place.

Turnbull added Australia had "the closest possible military and security alliance with the and it gets closer all of the time."

Australia buys around 60 percent of its military assets from the US, allows U.S. marines to rotate through Darwin every year, and swaps intelligence as part of the "Five Eyes" alliance also including Britain, and

"Our trade relationship, as the president acknowledges, is a fair and reciprocal one," Turnbull said. "It's absolutely, it's a level playing field and, in fact, the U.S. has a large trade surplus with Australia.

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

First Published: Sat, March 10 2018. 13:40 IST