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Trump gives US allies hope of bypassing new trade tariffs

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This time, China can fight back against tariffs

US President Donald Trump has signed off on deeply contentious trade tariffs, swatting aside warnings of a global trade war and protests from allies in Europe and at home.

China today denounced U.S. tariffs on aluminium and steel imports, saying that they would profoundly harm the global trade environment.

Last week Trump stunned the world - and his own aides - with an off-the-cuff announcement of his plan, even before White House lawyers judged the legality of the tariffs.

The new taxes are to go into effect in 15 days. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that Japan's steel and aluminum shipments posed no threat to US national security. Arconic, a spinoff of Alcoa, has production operations in Cleveland. The other companies have not yet responded to The Plain Dealer's request for comment. The European Union has said that it should be exempt from the tariffs.

The tariff plan has angered USA allies - including Canada, Mexico, Britain and members of the European Union - who argue their exports to the United States do not pose a threat to U.S. national security.

"Significant damage in South Korea's steel exports to the United States seems unavoidable", said Paik's statement. He appeared to have conceded some ground after a campaign by Republican lawmakers, industry groups and U.S. allies overseas. But then he says that Canada and Mexico will be exempt if they cave in on NAFTA, and Australia might be exempt because we have a trade surplus with them. Canada supplies nearly half of all the aluminium that the USA consumes each year.

Duties are imposed only after investigations reveal unfair trade has occurred.

As for foreign influence, it's true that China has flooded the world steel market with product made cheaper by government subsidizations.

China's government hasn't just issued statements, it has also taken action, launching an anti-dumping investigation into USA sorghum - an animal feed - in February.

President Trump has the authority to do this without congressional approval, but some Republican heavyweights in Congress are threatening to attempt to nullify the tariffs, with Arizona Republican Jeff Flake saying he was drafting legislation immediately to do so. The worldwide union applauded the tariffs.

"The US will become an island of high steel prices that will result in our customers simply sourcing our products from our overseas competitors and importing them into the United States tariff-free", the Precision Metalforming and National Tooling And Machining associations said in a joint statement. 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.

With Japan a major trade partner and worldwide investor, Suga said that, on the contrary, they contributed greatly to employment and industry in the United States.

He also hinted that security concerns were key to the introduction of tariffs.

"Canada is not one of the countries cheating and is not contributing to the decimation of US production".

"Whatever complaints the United States has about other trading relationships, it has no complaints in relation to Australia".

One study from January 2003 found the steel industry temporarily added about 3,500 workers, but the costs of those jobs came back and hit consumers at an increase of $400,000 per job.

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