Peter Navarro, director of the White House National Trade Council, has clarified that the Trump Administration’s imposition of stiff trade tariffs will include exceptions for businesses for lower import tariffs on aluminum and steel.
A top trade adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump disclosed that a process that allows businesses to avail lower tariffs will be put in place from the White House.
The development marks the first indications that the hefty tariff hike on aluminum and steel is likely to be less broad than was previously envisaged.
Peter Navarro, director of the White House National Trade Council, stated countries will however, not be excluded from the tariffs list since that would be a slippery slope; nevertheless there will be a mechanism that takes care of corporate exemptions, if the need to do so arises.
“There will be an exemption procedure for particular cases where we need to have exemptions, so that business can move forward,” said Navarro on CNN’s“State of the Union” program
The move comes in the wake of an outcry from U.S. trade partners, criticism from fellow Republicans and aggressive lobying against the stiff tariffs.
Navarro did not delve into the specifics of the exemption procedure.
Wilbur Ross, the U.S. Commerce Secretary, and Navarro have advocated stronger trade policies in order to target U.S. trade deficit.
Incidentally, China, a frequent target of Trump’s criticism on trade, accounts for 2% of U.S. steel imports.
Canada, the biggest steel supplier to the U.S., is in the process of trying to secure an exemption from potential U.S. tariffs on steel and has threatened retaliation if the U.S. were to go implement its proposed plans.
As per Ross, the proposed tariffs represent just a fraction of 1% of the U.S. economy and their impact would be limited.
Ross also dismissed EU’s threats of retaliatory tariffs on leading American products, including Harley Davidson motorcycles, Levi’s jeans and bourbon calling the $3 billion in affected goods a“pretty trivial” amount.
Trump has threatened tax imports on European goods, if the EU were to retaliate.