The exemption, albeit temporary, will be further reviewed on May 1 2018.
In a strategically significant development with widespread repercussions, U.S. President Donald Trump has excluded, albeit temporarily, 6 countries, including the European Union, Canada and Mexico, from stiff U.S. import tariffs on steel and aluminum which are meant to come into effect on Friday.
In a presidential proclamation published late on Thursday, Trump stated higher tariffs on import duties on aluminum and steel would be suspended for Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, the European Union, Mexico and South Korea, until May 1, 2018.
After this date, Trump would again take a call whether to permanently exempt these countries based on the status of on-going negotiations, said the White House in a statement.
“I have determined that the necessary and appropriate means to address the threat to the national security posed by imports from steel articles from these countries is to continue these discussions and to exempt steel articles imports from these countries from the tariff, at least at this time,” said Trump in the proclamation.
Further, the proclamation read, countries that have been hit by higher import tariffs could discuss with Washington ways to address U.S. national security concerns.
With regard to South Korea making it to the exempted list, Trump said South Korea enjoys an important security relationship with the United States, “including our shared commitment to eliminating the North Korean nuclear threat.”
South Korean President Moon Jae-in is pushing for a three-way leaders’ summit with North Korea and the United States aimed at ending the nuclear threat on the Korean peninsula, to which Trump has stated his willing to participate.
A date or location for the proposed summit is yet to be fixed.