Metals News
Turnbull secures exemption for Australian steel and aluminium exports to US
industry news
Jul 11,2017

July 10, 2017 10:03:16 AM

TheGuardian- The Turnbull government has secured an important exemption for Australian steel and aluminium exports to the United States, as US president Donald Trump considers tough sanctions on foreign steel companies.

Malcolm Turnbull and finance minister Mathias Cormann lobbied Trump and other high-ranking US government officials on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, last week to secure the significant exemption for Australia.

It comes as the Trump administration considers imposing harsh tariffs on steel and aluminium imports to the United States in response to the global glut of steel, in a bid to protect US manufacturing jobs.

The administration is expected to make a decision in coming weeks. Trump has reportedly told top US officials he is considering imposing tariffs as high as 20% on steel imports.

But Guardian Australia understands the government has been assured that Australia will be exempt from any trade sanctions.

It comes after lobbying from Turnbull and Cormann on the sidelines of the G20 last week, and after the trade minister, Steven Ciobo, last month met the US commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, to discuss the issue.

Cormann met the White House chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, about the matter last week, and he and Turnbull spoke to US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin. They told Mnuchin that ongoing overproduction and dumping by China were the cause of Trump’s concerns, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Turnbull also spoke to Trump at the weekend, where he explained why Australian manufacturers were not to blame for the volume of cheap steel and aluminium on global markets.

“The prime minister spoke to President Trump directly, explaining the Australian position and our concern that should the United States decide to pursue any trade measures in relation to steel and aluminium as a result of their current investigation, then we would like to see Australia exempted from any such measures,” Cormann told ABC radio on Monday.

“We understand US concerns about the pressure their steel and aluminium sectors are under as a result of non-market policies pursued by some countries. But Australia is a close ally and a trusted trading partner, we are not responsible for the issues that the United States are concerned about.

As a result of the strong representations by the prime minister, the Australian position is well understood,” he said.

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