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US won’t exclude allies from tariffs: White House

The White House says it will not exclude allies from steep tariffs President Donald Trump has announced would impose on imported steel and aluminum to protect American producers.

On Thursday, Trump said his country would slap tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum, a decision criticized both at home and abroad.

A day after the controversial announcement, a White House official said that there would be no exception for US partners such as Canada and Europe.

“The president made clear these would be across-the-board tariffs with no exclusions,” the official told reporters. “One problem with exclusions is that it’s a slippery slope. Where do you stop?”

Trump believes the tariffs will safeguard US jobs, but many economists say they will destroy more jobs than they create.

“People have no idea how badly our country has been treated by other countries,” Trump said on Thursday. “They’ve destroyed the steel industry, they’ve destroyed the aluminum industry, and other industries, frankly.”

The White House official refused to provide other details of the policy, such as whether the duties would apply to all steel products, or would exempt semifinished products, like the past when broad steel-import limits had been imposed.

At home, the country’s top energy industry trade groups, which rely on imported steel for drilling equipment, pipelines, liquefied natural gas terminals and refineries, issued statements calling on Trump to scrap the plan.

The tariff plan is “inconsistent with the administration’s goal of continuing the energy renaissance and building world class infrastructure,” said Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute.

The decision also drew complaints and counter-threats from the European Commission, Canada and other countries.

“We will not sit idly while our industry is hit with unfair measures that put thousands of European jobs at risk,” said the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.

Chrystia Freeland, the Canadian minister of foreign affairs, said that “Canada will take responsive measures to defend its trade interests and workers” should restrictions be imposed.

Meanwhile, China, the world’s dominant steel producer, called the plan “an extremely stupid move.”

Li Xinchuang, vice secretary general of the China Iron and Steel Association, said that the move would only make US industries lag further behind globally at a time when “China is in its prime.”

source: press tv

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