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China strongly opposes Trump's hefty tariffs on steel, aluminium imports

China strongly opposes Trump's hefty tariffs on steel, aluminium imports

The UK will seek an exemption from President Donald Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminium imports to the U.S., according to Trade Secretary Liam Fox.

Canada and Mexico are exempt from the tariffs, but only conditionally and for now. China is the world's biggest steelmaker, and has been seen largely as the target of these tariffs, even though Chinese steel accounts for but a fraction of US imports.

His trade adviser Peter Navarro said in a television interview on Wednesday that Canada and Mexico would be excluded for now as negotiations continue on the North American Free Trade Agreement.

President Donald Trump rolled out the new steel and aluminum tariffs on Thursday.

Lynch, a former ironworker, acknowledged that some countries are flooding the US with cheap steel, but stressed a more targeted approach would have been better. In a statement, a company spokesman said,"We anticipate these remedies will increase the demand for steel produced in the United States".

Trump signed two proclamations that levied a 25 per cent tariff on steel and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminium imported from all countries except Canada and Mexico.

The UK's top trade official, Liam Fox, said on Thursday evening in Britain that "the way that the United States is going about this is wrong".

"No one can doubt that China has created massive overcapacity in steel and aluminum production that distorts world markets and depresses steel and aluminum prices", Rep. Steny Hoyer, a Southern Maryland Democrat, said on Thursday.

The US President said the stage for the imposition of reciprocal tax has been set in the first year of his administration. Other countries will be able to apply for exemptions on the tariffs providing they can demonstrate "alternative means" for addressing the concerns that their steel and aluminum imports damage USA security interests. He further said that the country was losing $500 billion a year to China and something had to be done.

If tariffs are waived or lowered for some countries, they will have to be adjusted upward for other countries, according to the administration official. But the tariff regime was softened at the last minute to spare Canada and Mexico, albeit temporarily, while the USA and its neighbours renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. During a cabinet meeting earlier in the day, Mr. Trump singled out Australia as an example of another country that could be excluded, citing the trade surplus that the United States maintains with Australia, which imports more from America than it exports to the country.

The president's comments came after a frenzied and uncertain morning in which administration officials tried to resolve debates and complications that threatened to hold up an order he has been trumpeting for a week. The process of announcing the penalties has been the subject of an intense debate and chaotic exchanges within the White House, pitting hard-liners against free trade advocates such as outgoing economic adviser Gary Cohn aiming to add more flexibility for US trading partners.

Flanked by a handful of steel and aluminium workers, Trump presented the move as a way to rebuild vital industries decimated by foreign competition.

Britain, meanwhile, said it would "work with European Union partners to consider the scope for exemptions outlined today", saying "tariffs are not the right way" to tackle the problem of global over-capacity in steel.

There was some bipartisan concurrence on the idea of focusing any tariff plan on China rather than more broadly.

China was quick to respond to Trump's announcement.