United States opened way for more tariff exemptions after pressure from allies

U.S. President Donald Trump holds up a proclamation during a White House ceremony to establish tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 8, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Vastavam web: The United States opened the way for more exemptions from its steel and aluminum tariffs on Friday, after pressure from allies and intense lobbying from lawmakers, further diluting the measures just a day after they were formally announced.President Donald Trump, who has broad powers to impose the tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum, at the outset granted exemptions to Canada and Mexico, and said there would be the possibility of industry exemptions, although he has not been specific.

Trump tweeted on Friday that he spoke with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull about trade and military cooperation. “Working very quickly on a security agreement so we don’t have to impose steel or aluminum tariffs on our ally, the great nation of Australia!” Trump said.When proposed tariffs were initially announced, stock markets went into a tail spin on concerns they would ignite a global trade war. But since Trump signaled that exemptions were possible, reaction has been measured, and counter threats have been carefully calibrated so far.

“The reality is that Trump’s trade measures to date amount to small potatoes. In particular, they pale in comparison to the scale and scope of the protectionist policies of President Ronald Reagan’s administration in the 1980s,” Rodrik wrote on Friday.