On May 31, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that Washington would impose steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the EU on June 1.
Commerce Secretary Ross: NAFTA talks 'didn't get far enough' for Mexico and Canada to avoid tariffs https://t.co/G1Ax4fmai4
— CNBC (@CNBC) May 31, 2018
In an interview to CNBC, Ross recalled that imposed in March tariffs of 25 % on steel and 10 % on aluminum will expire as scheduled on June 1. He stressed that “he is still looking forward to continuing negotiations” on the issue with his EU colleagues.
However, in the case of Canada and Mexico the decision was based on making progress in the ongoing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) talks. Ross said that “those talks had been taking longer than we had hoped” and there is not any precise date of when a deal may be agreed. Ross pointed out that any other measures from Canada or Mexico would renew talks with the NAFTA.
He justified the US move as an intension to “protect U.S. national security”.
“The Trump Administration’s actions underscore its commitment to good-faith negotiations with our allies to enhance our national security while supporting American workers,” the US President Donald Trump statement reads.
“The Administration will continue to monitor steel and aluminum imports and adjust the measures in effect as necessary to protect the national security of the United States.”
Ross said that Argentina, Australia and Brazil receive further exemption from the tariffs though there have been “limitations” made “on the volume [of steel and aluminum] they can ship to the U.S.”
On May 30, top trade officials from the US came to Paris to meet their EU counterparts and discuss exemptions on tariffs. European representatives stressed that they would impose tariffs on as much as $3.3 billion in US exports, if Washington slaps other countries with new restrictions. French President Emmanuel Macron stressed that Europe should not show weakness in the face of unilateral action.