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US Automakers Can Take Trump Tariffs Easy: Here's Why

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Trump plans to announce steel tariffs but may allow exemptions for U.S allies after all

The U.S. move not only damages the iron and steel industry across the world, but damages the interests of consumers, especially American consumers, the industry group said on its website.

The European Union has warned that if the United States does not exempt North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members, they could retaliate with tariffs on USA exports, including steel and agricultural products such as peanut butter, cranberries, and orange juice. But he showed more leniency than initially thought.

Trump cited national security concerns as his reason for imposing a 25 percent tax on USA steel imports and a 10 percent tax on aluminum imports, saying that imports are "killing" the US steel and aluminum industries and a nation that wants to defend itself must have a viable metals sector capable of supplying weapons manufacturers.

How will United States trading partners likely respond?

A US Commerce Department report concluded that steel import levels and global excess capacity were weakening the US internal economy and therefore threatening to impair national security, Trump noted during his White House announcement.

"It's a very tricky situation made harder by Trump's approach to [trade] rules", said Peter Holmes, a trade expert at the University of Sussex.

The EU has warned that it stands ready to slap retaliatory tariffs on USA steel, agricultural and other products, like peanut butter, cranberries and orange juice.

The EU's top official on Wednesday warned US President Donald Trump against starting a trade war, as the bloc prepared to retaliate against Washington's threatened metals tariffs with duties on peanut butter, orange juice and bourbon whiskey.

Nonetheless, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, whose company is manufacturing solar roof tiles and will soon be manufacturing solar cells in Buffalo, New York, saw the tariff discussions as an opportunity to shore up his other product line, electric cars.

He also praised the EU Commission earlier announcement that it will respond immediately. Not one to back down, especially to the Europeans who he's previously mocked as "socialists", Trump dug in and tweeted back that "If the E.U. wants to further increase their already massive tariffs and barriers on USA companies doing business there, we will simply apply a Tax on their Cars which freely pour into the U.S".

Trump did make one potentially major concession by exempting Canada and Mexico from the tariffs. And there will be a long line of companies and countries arguing their imports should be given special treatment.

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, said he agreed with Trump's view that the US needs fair trade agreements, but he thinks Trump's broad tariffs could misfire instead of deliver higher wages and economic growth.

Some, including the European Union, have threatened retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products such as bourbon whiskey and Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

"Other countries have created unfair trade policies for decades that have harmed our national and economic security", she said.

Trump then quickly replied: "Then he's even more proud of you, he's even more proud". While there is a broad consensus in the USA on the need to force China to change its predatory policy, Trump's steel tariff is a sledgehammer to kill a fly.

As markets fell on news that Wall Street favorite Gary Cohn had resigned from the White House in protest at Trump's trade decision and global partners vowed retaliation, Ross tried to calm fears of a trade war. China's foreign minister, Wang Yi, said any action aimed at Beijing would result in "a justified and necessary response". "That Canada could be seen as a threat to USA security is inconceivable", she said. "We just want fairness, because we have not been treated fairly by other countries". Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that Japan's steel and aluminum shipments posed no threat to US national security.

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