Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says the Federal Government will renew its call to be exempt from the Trump administration's steel and aluminium tariffs, given Mexico and Canada may be spared. The people spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the president's signing of the orders. "We're going to be very fair, we're going to be very flexible, but we're going to protect the American worker - as I said I would do in my campaign".
"We won't drive the economy to over 3 per cent growth or continue to create jobs if we go down this path", the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Tom Donohue, said in a statement. "I just want fairness".
"I note they mention Canada and Mexico, they are two countries that are now negotiating with the USA on the NAFTA agreement". And depending on the outcome of those discussions, Trump has indicated he could apply the steel and aluminum tariffs to Mexico and Canada as well.
President Donald Trump is reportedly considering CNBC analyst Larry Kudlow to replace newly-resigned chief economic adviser Gary Cohn - and CNN correspondent Jim Acosta has a theory as to why he was chosen.
President Trump's plan is aimed at protecting USA producers from unfair competition. In any case, Trump said 15 days remain until the tariffs take effect and exemptions will be made on a case-by-case basis considering "fairness on trade". Trump's announcement that he will impose stiff tariffs on imported steel and aluminum has upended political alliances on Capitol Hill.
Trump insisted in a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron - a leading European Union player staunchly opposed to the tariffs - that the "decision is necessary and appropriate to protect national security".
That leaves some vulnerability for Hamilton's steel sector, comprising big companies like Stelco and ArcelorMittalDofasco, as well as many ancillary companies. Under World Trade Organization rules, such counter-measures have to be in place within 90 days of the USA tariffs entering force. The President's spokesperson Sarah Sanders says if it's seen in the nation's security interest some nations may be dropped off the list.
Despite this fact, the US president frequently says that Canada is taking advantage of the USA and that the Americans are the ones with the deficit.
The benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 stock index ended slightly lower after a volatile session after Trump promised the tariffs but then said Mexico and Canada could be exempt.
"We have been in contact but we haven't spoken yet because he's travelling", she said.
Stressing the need for "flexibility" while protecting the country's national security, Trump also said that other countries could negotiate bilaterally with the United States to get exemptions and reductions in their tariff rates.
The European Union and Japan, the United States' top economic and military ally in Asia, also reiterated that their exports were not a threat to US national security, rejecting Trump's justification for imposing the tariffs.