Flanked by steel and aluminum industry workers, President Donald Trump signed proclamations Thursday imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
Trump announced last week that he planned to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports.
In remarks at a signing ceremony, Trump argued unfair trade practices and industrial policies of other countries pose a threat to U.S. national security.
The president noted the U.S. would be open to modifying or removing the tariffs on certain countries if they can agree on alternate means to resolve trade inequities.
At a Cabinet meeting earlier in the day, Trump suggested that countries such as Canada, Mexico, and Australia could be exempt from the tariffs.
"We're going to be very flexible," Trump said. "At the same time, we have some friends and some enemies where we have been tremendously taken advantage of over the years."
The exemptions for Canada and Mexico would depend on the successful renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, Trump said.
Trump also noted that the U.S. has a "very close relationship" and a trade surplus with Australia, which he called a "long-term partner."
Earlier this month, Commerce Department investigations concluded that the quantities and circumstances of steel and aluminum imports "threaten to impair the national security."
The investigations into the impact of steel and aluminum imports on national security were carried out under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross subsequently recommended that Trump impose quotas or tariffs on steel and aluminum imports to remove the threatened impairment to national security.
The announcement of the tariffs raised concerns about retaliation by U.S. trade partners such as the European Union and China sparking a global trade war.
The decision to impose the tariffs led to a dispute among White House officials and has also drawn criticism from some Republican lawmakers.
by RTT Staff Writer
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