Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced on Thursday, May 31st that a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum will go into effect at midnight on May 31 on imports from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. Those countries had previously been granted temporary exemptions from the initial tariffs announced in March as a result of investigations under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. According to Secretary Ross, while discussions with the European Union were ongoing, the progress did not warrant another temporary exemption. Additionally, this announcement comes in the middle of the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”) re-negotiations with Canada and Mexico. Ross stated that those talks have taken longer than expected and there is no precise end date in sight.
The European Union has already notified the World Trade Organization (“WTO”) of plans to impose duties on $7.1 billion worth of U.S. exports in response to this announcement. South Korea, Australia, Argentina and Brazil, previously received permanent exemptions.
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