US tariffs expected today as EU prepares to fight back

White House hints that Canada and Mexico may be exempt


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US President Donald J. Trump is expected to announce stiff tariffs on steel (25%) and aluminium (10%) on Thursday at 3:30 pm, according to a high-level source who spoke with New Europe.

According to the information made available, the new steel and aluminium tariffs will come into effect on May 1,  the same day when negotiations for a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are expected to end. Canada and Mexico, as a result, might escape the new tariffs, according to White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders and two members of Trump’s cabinet.

Canada and Mexico might find themselves spared from Trump’s declaration of economic war as they fall outside the national security concerns that the White House cited as a justification for the new taxes, Huckabee Sanders said other allies might also ask for an exemption, which could be granted on a case-by-case basis.

Earlier on Wednesday Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the Trump has “indicated a degree of flexibility”, adding,  “If we can work something out with Canada and Mexico, then they will be exempted. It’s not inconceivable that others could be exempted under similar circumstances,” Ross said.

Trump seems to have moved swiftly to finalise a decision about the steel and aluminium tariffs after the European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström told reporters that the bloc has adopted a draft list of steel products, as well as industrial and agricultural goods, that will be taxed as a response to Trump’s new tariffs.

Stocks rallied slightly before the close of trading on Wednesday as rumours swirled that both Canada and Mexico may be left off Trump’s tariff list.

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