The Latest: Trump talks tariffs with Australia’s Turnbull
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on U.S. trade policy (all times local):
President Donald Trump says he’s discussed tariffs with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia.
Trump tweets that Turnbull is committed to having a fair and reciprocal military and trade relationship with the U.S., its ally. He says they’re working “very quickly” on an agreement that would exempt Australia from tariffs on steel and aluminum imports Trump ordered this week.
Trump drew on rarely used national security grounds to place a 25 percent tax on steel imports and a 10 percent tax on imported aluminum. Only Canada and Mexico — both partners in the North American Free Trade Agreement that is being renegotiated — were excluded from the tariffs.
Trump suggested before he signed the orders to impose that Australia and “other countries” could also be exempted from tariffs.
The U.N. says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (goo-TEHR’-esh) is “encouraged” by the announcement of an upcoming U.S.-North Korea summit and “commends the leadership and vision of all concerned.”
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters Friday that Gutteres “reiterates his support for all efforts towards peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
He called the December visit to North Korea by U.N. political chief Jeffrey Feltman “a move in a positive direction, which has led us to where we are today.”
Feltman said after he returned that North Korea’s foreign minister and others told him “that it was important to prevent war” — and how to do that was the topic of more than 15 hours of discussions.
The spokesman reiterated the secretary-general’s offer to “do whatever he can to help facilitate the process.”
U.S. allies seeking to avoid the steel and aluminum tariffs approved by President Donald Trump might be asked to step up their financial commitments to NATO.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told CNBC in an interview Friday that the president will consider national security in determining exemptions from tariffs, and noted that Trump wants to be sure that NATO gets more funding from European allies. Trump has previously criticized some European countries for not contributing enough.
Trump drew on rarely-used national security grounds to place a 25 percent tax on steel imports and 10 percent tax on imported aluminum. Only Canada and Mexico — both partners in the North American Free Trade Agreement being renegotiated — were excluded from the tariffs.
The Republican chairman of a Senate oversight committee is launching a review of the president’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is asking Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to answer several questions about the move. That includes a “detailed cost analysis” of the impact on the economy, how employment levels were factored into the decision and national security concerns.
The chairman of the Senate’s Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee has been no fan of President Donald Trump’s tariff plan. He says they risk undermining the U.S. economy, including manufacturers in his state. The panel has authority to probe the efficiently and effectiveness of government. Johnson’s seeking “detailed” response from the administration by March 22.