Congressional Republicans threaten action over Trump's tariffs


More than 100 House Republicans wrote Trump on Wednesday, asking him to reconsider "the idea of broad tariffs to avoid unintended negative consequences" to the USA economy and workers.

Bishop also reported that she had contacted several NY businessmen who are close to the Trump empire, to lobby against Trump's steel tariffs.

As he has indicated previously, Trump said he would levy tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum. Canada and Mexico were given exemptions while the renegotiation of a more US-friendly NAFTA deal is underway. And the USA will give special consideration to its "great partners" and "great military allies" - but also, "many of the countries that treat us the worst on trade and on military are our "allies" as they like to call them".

A separate proclamation was signed by Trump for aluminium, utilizing virtually the same language except for differences in grades covered by the orders.

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican, said he plans to introduce legislation next week to nullify the tariffs though he has acknowledged that finding the votes to stop the president's actions could be hard.

At the White House, officials were working to include language in the tariffs that would give Trump the flexibility to approve exemptions for certain countries.

Trade minister Steve Ciobo on Friday signed the 11-country deal, which will eliminate 98 per cent of tariffs in a marketplace worth close to $US14 trillion.

Speaking to the National People's Congress in Beijing, he urged the United States to work with China on a mutually beneficial solution saying, "A trade war has never been the right way to solve the problem, especially under globalization".

Trump says the excess of imported steel and aluminum is a "travesty" and hurts American workers and industry.

The White House has justified its action on tariffs by making use of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, which allows the executive branch to make implement tariffs unilaterally if doing so is a matter of national security.

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Those steel "articles" are defined under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule as 7206.10 through 7216.50; 7216.99 through 7301.10; 7302.10, 7302.40 through 7302.90; and 7304.10 through 7306.90.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the USA wants to negotiate exemptions for steel and aluminum tariffs before they take effect in two weeks, as pressure grows from allies who are threatening retaliation if the duties are applied to them.

And John McCain, the ailing but outspoken Arizona Republican who has opposed Mr Trump on lots of measures, said Thursday the tariffs were redolent of past failed policies and would hurt the U.S. economy.

He has ordered steep new tariffs on those imports to the U.S. He appeared to have conceded some ground after a campaign by Republican lawmakers, industry groups and United States allies overseas.

Trump indicated that military allies - including North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries who spend a minimum of two per cent of GDP on defence - could see a reduction in the tariffs.

For those countries subject to the tariffs, steel imports will be taxed at 25 percent and aluminum imports at 10 percent.

"What an extremely stupid move", said Li Xinchuang, vice secretary general of the China Iron and Steel Association. The administration has argued that America's reliance on foreign aluminum and steel has caused atrophy among domestic manufacturers, which they say could leave us unable to meet our national security needs in the event of a war.

Some Republicans, industrial leaders and others are opposing the tariffs. But those exemptions weren't enough to placate congressional Republicans who have traditionally opposed protectionist action on trade.

"All we have been asking for is a level playing field to help this industry and have jobs for our members", Gallagher said. Saudi Arabia might see USA fighter jets as less preferred compared to those from France or Russian Federation.