Are The President's Steel and Aluminum Tariffs Good for America?

Chris Kleponis- CNP  Newscom

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin testifies to the House Financial Services Committee in Washington Thomson Reuters WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump could exempt more countries from trade tariffs, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Friday.

"There will be a lot of high-level discussions as we proceed with this", he said Friday after touring a JetBlue facility in NY to celebrate the company's tax cut bonuses.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told CNBC in a Friday interview that the president will consider national security, noting that Trump wants to be sure that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation gets more funding from European allies that Trump has previously criticized for not contributing enough. He did not give details.

Trump, flanked at the White House by steel and aluminum workers but not a single member of Congress, announced a scaled-back version of his original flat 25-percent steel and 10-percent aluminum tariff plan.

The threat of tariffs hung over the negotiations in Mexico City, and Lighthizer said it was an incentive for Canada and Mexico to get a deal - a sentiment echoed by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross after Trump's announcement.

Fox argued it was "doubly absurd" to target Britain with steel tariffs on national security grounds when it only provided the United States with one percent of its imports and made steel for the American military.

"Only 28 per cent agree with Mr. Trump's statement that a trade war would be good for the United States; fully 64 per cent reject it, including 71 per cent of Independents and 50 per cent of non-college whites", the report says.

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On Friday, manufacturing nations began jockeying to be among those exempted from the levies, trying a mix of persuasion and threats, of personal appeals and diplomatic leverage. And Australia deployed a secret weapon: the golfing legend Greg Norman, a friend of Trump.

Britain is now a member of the European Union and would be bound by USA measures against the bloc and any retaliation it launches.

"If you don't want to pay tax, bring your plant to the US", added Trump, flanked by steel and aluminium workers.

"We need trans-Atlantic solidarity on this issue and not trade conflicts", she said. "I would reject that". New Gold Inc and IAMGOLD Corp were also among the biggest losers, losing 3.4 percent and 2.4 percent respectively.

European Union countries, for example, were compiling a list of products with a strong correlation to Republican congressional districts, including Harley-Davidson motorcycles, bourbon, rice, kidney beans, sweet corn, tobacco and peanut butter.

However Trump has cleared that the decision to exempt Canada and Mexico can be changed in future. "We will continue to push our case, we'll continue to advocate on behalf of Australia for as long as it takes".

A steelworker stops for a picture high above the streets of NY.

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