WASHINGTON – The United States is negotiating with the European Union, Argentina and Australia on possible exemptions from US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports set to take effect this week, Washington’s top trade official said Wednesday.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told the Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives that his office expects to open similar talks with a “great number” of other nations, including Brazil.
President Donald Trump announced March 8 that he would impose tariffs of 25 percent and 10 percent on imports of steel and aluminum, respectively.
The tariffs are set to take effect Friday.
The president said at the outset that Canada and Mexico would be exempt from the levies pending the conclusion of the process to renegotiate the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.
Trump also left open the possibility that other countries might obtain exemptions.
“Countries will get out as we come to agreement. Some will be in position where the duties will not apply to them in course of negotiations,” Lighthizer said Wednesday. “Our hope is end by the end of April we (will) have this part of the process resolved.”
US and South Korean negotiators are striving to resolve the “last few issues” standing in the way of amendments to the existing bilateral trade agreement that would avoid tariffs on steel and aluminum from South Korea, Lighthizer said.