Mexico Canada Spared
President Donald Trump, following through on one of his most controversial campaign promises, signed two proclamations Thursday that implement tariffs on imported steel and aluminum but exempt Canada and Mexico.
The president signed the tariffs in the White House's Roosevelt Room, surrounded by workers who will supposedly benefit from the moves. The tariffs will take effect in 15 days.
The moves will slap a 25 percent levy on steel and 10 percent charge on aluminum. White House officials say the tariffs are an essential matter of domestic and economic security.
"A strong steel and aluminum industry are vital to our national security," Trump said. "You don't have steel, you don't have a country."
In addition to the exceptions for the two NAFTA partners, the White House will give other nations the opportunity to justify why they shouldn't be included.
"If the same goals can be accomplished by other means, America will remain open to modifying or removing the tariffs for individual nations, as long as we can agree on a way to ensure that their products no longer threaten our security," Trump said.
Determining further exceptions will depend on whether countries can convince Trump that there's a "satisfactory alternative means" for resolving trade inequities, said an administration official familiar with the tariff proclamations who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"We're going to show great flexibility," Trump added.
In the meantime, Trump said it's vital for national interests to take action against other nations that have dumped steel into the global market, costing American jobs and the nation's economic standing.
"Now we're finally taking action to correct this long overdue problem," he said. "It's a travesty."
While there is not currently a timetable, the exemptions for Canada and Mexico "are not open-ended" and will depend on whether changes are made to NAFTA that satisfy Trump, the administration official added. The proclamations also can be amended in other ways "to preserve our national security."Read More...