The U.S. will shield a list of allies including Europe, Australia, South Korea, Argentina and Brazil from steel and aluminum tariffs that take effect on Friday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said.
President Donald Trump has decided to “pause the imposition of the tariffs with respect to those countries,” Lighthizer told the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday. “We have the two NAFTA countries. We have Europe, Australia, we have Argentina, we have Brazil, and obviously Korea.”
It was unclear from his remarks to the committee whether the U.S. had offered these countries as a permanent exemption or if they wouldn’t have to pay the tariffs while negotiating a solution. Lighthizer said on Wednesday that the U.S. wanted to wrap up the discussion with countries over exemptions by the end of April.
Trump announced earlier this month he was imposing a 25 per cent tariff on imported steel and 10 per cent on aluminum but exempted Canada and Mexico as long as they agreed to an updated North American Free Trade Agreement. He also left the door open for allies to negotiate their own exemptions, sparking a furious lobbying effort by trading partners like the European Union, which is threatening retaliation if it’s hit by the duties.