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Trump allows targeted relief on steel and aluminum quotas

  • 30 Aug 2018

The US president signed proclamations allowing relief from the quotas on steel from South Korea, Brazil and Argentina and on aluminium from Argentina.

US President Donald Trump signed off on the limited relief from steel and aluminium quotas on Wednesday. The tariffs on steel and aluminium imports were imposed in March, triggering a trade war. August 29, 2018. ( Leah Millis / Reuters )

US President Donald Trump has signed proclamations permitting targeted relief from steel and aluminium quotas from some countries, the US Department of Commerce said on Wednesday.

Trump, who put in place tariffs on steel and aluminium imports in March, signed proclamations allowing relief from the quotas on steel from South Korea, Brazil and Argentina and on aluminium from Argentina, the department said in a statement.

"Companies can apply for product exclusions based on insufficient quantity or quality available from US steel or aluminium producers," the statement said. "In such cases, an exclusion from the quota may be granted and no tariff would be owed."

Trump, citing national security concerns, placed tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminium imports.

The tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico took effect on June 1, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on May 31 that arrangements had been made with some countries to have non-tariff limits on their exports of the two metals to the United States.

Ross said the arrangement with South Korea was for a quota of 70 percent of average steel exports to the United States in the years 2015 to 2017.

The Brazilian government said at the time the US quotas and tariffs on Brazil's steel and aluminium exports were unjustified but that it remained open to negotiate a solution.

Brazilian semi-finished steel exports to the United States are subject to quotas based on the average for the three years from 2015-2017, while finished steel products will be limited to a quota of 70 percent of the average for those years.

Argentina asked the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday for an early release of funds from a $50 billion deal with the IMF to ease concerns that the country will not be able to meet its debt obligations for 2019.

The three-year stand-by financing deal is aimed at strengthening the South American country's weak economy and helping it fight inflation, which at 30 percent per year, is one of the highest in the world.

The Argentine currency fell again Wednesday to close at an all-time low of 34.2 pesos per U.S. dollar.

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