Trump signed proclamations Thursday allowing tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum to take effect later this month. The president said the US needed to crack down on countries flooding American markets with cheap metals.
"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.
Tuesday saw the departure of top White House economic advisor Gary Cohn, who is a strong supporter of free trade.
The timing of Trump's statements also warrants notice, since they come at a time when U.S. officials are busy negotiating a seventh round of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which brings together the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
"If the same goals can be accomplished by other means, America will remain open to modifying or removing the tariffs for individual nations, as long as we can agree on a way to ensure that their products no longer threaten our security", he said.
"He's already indicated a degree of flexibility, I think a very sensible, very balanced degree of flexibility", Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC. We can debate the policy - in fact we should, in an honest manner - but we should all be proud that our president is actually trying to do something to preserve American jobs.
Trump also signaled other trade actions could be in the works.
And now he's committed Canada to an 11-nation trade partnership with Pacific Rim countries without US involvement, a deal that will permit, among other things, more foreign auto imports into Canada - which has already infuriated USA automakers and Canada's auto workers.
Donald Trump Finally Makes His Stupid Tariff Announcement
Trump confirmed the exemption in an early Saturday morning call between the two leaders, Turnbull said. We'll be doing something with them.
"We will urge the worldwide community to refrain from adopting measures that inhibit free trade", said the Korean minister, Paik Un-gyu, at an emergency meeting, according to a ministry statement.
Trump's proposed tariffs closely match the recommendation in a report submitted to the president by the Department of Commerce on February 16. But members of Congress have few tools at their disposal to counter the president, who has vowed to fulfill his campaign pledge.
Rajah said if Australia fails to get an exemption, the Turnbull government would have some grounds to retaliate, but it would be a complicated process. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who has suggested hearings on the tariffs.
The EU would find thousands of jobs in jeopardy if Washington's import tariffs affect the union, Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said. "He may be a globalist, but I still like him".
It said it would study the move's impact on Japanese companies before responding further.
The Springfield Democrat argued that while USA aluminum and steel workers "deserve effective relief", Trump has "pursued a chaotic process and used punishing rhetoric that treats all US trading partners as national security concerns and fails to recognize the complexities of our market".
An MSNBC anchor tweeted late into the evening that the it was "not going to happen" because the president was 'undecided after a day of heavy pushback from Republicans'.More news: Trump and Kim should not be left alone together, expert warns
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