While Mr Trump promoted the exemption on Twitter as a "security agreement" Mr Turnbull maintains that's just shorthand for the legal proclamation to bring the exemption into force. What the president didn't know couldn't hurt us. And it's starting to look like we have a trade policy crisis on our hands.
Perhaps the most upset with the Trump administration stance was the World Trade Organization (WTO).
He said the tariffs would correct trading imbalances going back decades that had harmed the United States job market and threatened U.S. manufacturers.
The US tariff for cars, at 2.5 per cent, was lower than the European Union rate of 10 per cent, but its rate of up to 25 per cent on trucks was higher.
This is, of course, nonsense.
Petrochemical plants use a lot of steel.
Officials of the South Korean Trade Ministry met with steel industry leaders recently to discuss ways to minimize damage from potential Section 232 action. Chinese imports to the United States have dwindled over the last decade, thanks to a series of country-specific tariffs; Canada and Germany have overtaken China as exporters to the US.
Recent analysis from CommSec shows that in January that trade deficit was the second largest on record, with an $18.5 billion difference between imports and exports.
In the end, Trump's tariffs might help him win the battle for Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin, but they will lose him the war in terms of trade.
According to the European steel association EUROFER, trade with the USA accounted for 15 percent of Europe's steel exports in 2017. A cycle of retaliation would shrink overall world trade, making the world as a whole, America very much included, poorer. The problem is Congress decided it was perfectly fine to stoop below the presidency in the 1960's by abdicating even more power to the executive.
He also highlighted the strength of the national security relationship between the United Kingdom and the US. Mexico and Canada are also exempt.
Could the U.S. produce cars without all those imported components? He is a former chief economist of the Australian Trade and Investment Commission, the Australian Council of Trade Unions and Reserve Bank of Australia. On balance, it seems likely that tire protectionism cost the USA economy around 2,531 jobs, when losses in the retail sector are o set against gains in tire manufacturing. And many of them would suffer losses on the way that they would never get back. It also enabled us to present price increases to our customers for a very explicit reason, and we were in an environment where price increases were unheard of. "Domestic steel production is vital to national security", it said. "Car shoppers looking for a deal will instead find that they are paying a new tax to transport themselves and their families".
South Korea made an impassioned appeal to the U.S. secretary of defence and national security adviser, reminding them of its role in trying to defang North Korea, while Europe pointed out that it was a longstanding military ally of the United States.