Steel, aluminum tariff decision delayed to June 1

A White House statement said President Donald Trump's administration had reached an in-principle deal on the tariffs with Australia, Argentina and Brazil.

Germany says it is aware of the USA postponement of a decision on imposing tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from the European Union for 30 days, but continues to expect "a permanent exemption".

Trump's administration has stated that there will be no further extensions of tariff exemptions beyond this final 30 day period. South Korea has also secured permanent exemptions with some concessions that observers say will have limited impact on its bilateral trade with the U.S.

Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl, the EPP group spokesperson on worldwide trade, cautioned, "The US is giving us a little break but the sword of Damocles is still present in trade relations with the EU". But, of course, Trump is an avowed unilateralist, and his trade advisers have equally little faith in multilateral institutions like the W.T.O. and the E.U. So the U.S.is going it alone against China.

Just hours before, Trump had made a decision to grant Canada, Mexico and the European Union an additional 30 days to work out deals to avoid the penalties - a move that John Ferriola, the CEO of Nucor Corp., earlier labeled "disappointing".

He added, the same goes for other countries and NAFTA, but he reassured the American people all of it will get done.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom would continue talks with U.S counterparts, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the Commission said.

US President Donald Trump however signed proclamations granting a select number of countries exemptions until June 1, Bloomberg reported.

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"We should rather focus on a positive trade agenda", said Jyrki Katainen, a commission vice president also responsible for trade, in a tweet Tuesday. "But we can only do that calmly when we are certain of being permanently exempted from the threat of unilateral tariff increases".

Argentina's steel association said late Tuesday the agreement represented great news for the national steel sector but also for the whole country.

He said: "There are no reasons which can justify that the European Union be subject to a unilateral increase in tariffs on steel and aluminium".

The last-minute decision of President Trump to postpone tariffs on steel and aluminium till the end of the month sounded both as a relief but also as an extra stress to the ears of the European Union officials.

Concerns in recent days centered around whether that exemption would be made permanent.

Europe had lined up its own punitive tariffs on American imports, including iconic items like Harley-Davidson motorbikes, blue jeans and bourbon whiskey - but for now, instead, negotiations will continue.

The European Union and Canadian businesses are warning of more market uncertainty following the Trump administration's decision to delay U.S. steel and aluminium tariffs for the next month.

  • Sonia Alvarado