U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today confirmed that the European Union, Australia, Argentina, Brazil and South Korea will be exempted from the Trump administration’s steel and aluminum tariffs.
President Donald Trump “has decided to pause the imposition of the tariffs with respect to those countries,” Lighthizer told lawmakers at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Trump’s trade agenda.
Trump already said that Canada and Mexico would be exempted from the 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent duty on aluminum. The levies are set to take effect on Friday.
Trump agreed that, “based on a certain set of criteria, that some countries should get out,” and those are the countries the U.S. has been negotiating with, Lighthizer said.
Lighthizer confirmed the exemptions after Sen. Ron Wyden, ranking member of the committee, pushed for the administration’s trade chief to provide clarity on the exemptions process.
“Everybody here wants to be part of the consultation process — we haven’t had much recently,” Wyden said. “Which countries — because it’s going to happen tomorrow — will not have these steel and aluminum tariffs applied to them?”
“It’s the list that I just gave,” Lighthizer responded.
The Commerce Department and USTR have been in talks with several countries about potentially exempting them from the steel and aluminum tariffs.