EU, Japan seek clarity from crisis US trade talks

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WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump's decision to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports drew rare bipartisan criticism from lawmakers, who warned the move could trigger a transatlantic trade war and hurt US companies.

Trump on Thursday formally ordered new tariffs on steel and aluminum imported into the U.S.

Japanese Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko said he had expressed Japanese concern to Lighthizer and warned of major market disruption.

Mr Trump has also demanded concession from the European Union, complaining that it treated American cars unfairly and has threatened to hike tariffs on vehicle imports from Europe.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom had a "frank discussion" about the upcoming U.S. tariffs on imported steel and aluminum with USA trade representative Robert Lighthizer on Saturday.

Brussels has gone the furthest in fighting back against Washington's shock measures, loudly announcing a list of USA products to hit with countermeasures if its exports are affected by the tariffs.

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In two weeks, the USA will bump up tariffs on steel imports by 25 per cent, and on aluminium by 10 per cent, as Mr Trump erects trade barriers as part of his "America first" pitch for local jobs.

Trump also suggested Australia and "other countries" might be spared.

"We didn't get caught up in the application of this thing", but it will likely loom large in the background of NAFTA discussions.

"While this "benefit" has also placed a cost on domestic industries, I don't believe that Trump has any idea how a trade war can reduce current American living standards, wrote Schiff, the CEO of Euro Pacific Capital".

With national security as the primary issue, it would be hard to apply the tax to South Korea and Australia, meaning that they could ultimately land on Russian Federation more than nearly any other country, said Levy, now at adjunct professor at Northwestern University.

Trump signaled that all other countries also have opportunities to be exempt from the tariffs by negotiations with the United States. They still worry about how other major US allies all around the world will react.

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A group representing auto parts suppliers says President Trump's new tariffs on steel and aluminum could destroy jobs in MI.

Gary Cohn, Trump's top economic advisor, announced his resignation Monday, with White House sources telling media outlets that the decision was based on Trump's tariff push. The EU responded with retaliatory sanctions and Bush dropped the tariffs in 2003. But Mr. Trump's trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, has failed to ask the W.T.O.to convene a panel of judges to hear the case, effectively suspending it. Mr. Lighthizer's office declined to answer questions about the case.

"And it is certainly not the right way to include Europe in that because we are friends, we are allies, we work together, we can not possibly be a threat to national security in the United States, so we are counting on being excluded". Australian steel exports to the United States are less than 0.1% of GDP but the prospect of local exporters losing the USA market was a source of concern.

Earlier, the senior administration official said that "all countries will be welcome to discuss" other possible ways to ease the tariffs.

The new tariffs will take effect in 15 days, with America's neighbors indefinitely spared "to see if we can make the deal", Mr. Trump said.

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