Trump says Australia to secure exemption from United States tariffs

Ivan Schwartz
March 10, 2018

Thousands of Australian and US jobs could be affected if US President Donald Trump keeps his promise to hike steel tariffs, which Mr Turnbull wants an exemption from.

According to the report, Australian Ambassador to Washington Joe Hockey, called Norman on behalf of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, to give Turnbull Trump's personal cell phone number.

USA trading partners were given a 15 day window to negotiate exemptions to the tariffs, due to come into effect in a fortnight.

Mr Turnbull recently visited Washington in a bid to encourage trade, but Australia is not exempt from U.S. plans to impose a global 25 per cent tariff on steel imports and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminium imports.

There were no immediate details on what such a "security agreement" would entail.

Australia, Canada and Mexico are among the countries trying to dodge the Trump administration's proposed 25 per cent tariff on steel and 10 per cent tariff on aluminium imports.

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BAE Chief Executive Charles Woodburn said it was a positive step toward agreeing a contract with a valued partner. The deal has been under discussion for years but has proven tough to seal.

Australia and the United States have been joined in the ANZUS Treaty security alliance since it took effect in 1952.

"While we hope that Australia will win exemptions from the latest steel and aluminium tariffs, this would be only a partial victory", Mr Willox said on Friday.

Trump on Thursday afternoon signed paperwork to impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, despite warnings from Republicans, Democrats and global leaders that such a move could have unintended consequences.

But both Mexico and Canada rejected Trump's linkage of the levies to ongoing NAFTA talks.

"We have a very close relationship with Australia, we have a trade surplus with Australia, great country, long-term partner, we'll be doing something with them", he said. "This is a very important matter for Australia, it's also a very important principle", Bishop told Australian Broadcasting's AM program.

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