Some of the US’s main trading partners have criticised President Donald Trump for authorising new tariffs on aluminium and steel imports.
France said a there would be “only losers” in the event of a trade war, while China labelled the decision a “serious attack” on international trade.
Japan, however, is to ask to be exempt from the new measures. Its Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga, made the following announcement:
“After assessing the details of the tariff, and how much it will affect the industry in Japan, we will consider what steps to take within the WTO framework. We will also continue to ask the US to exempt us from this tariff."
Australia, too, appeared to call for an exemption.
"America has a trade surplus with Australia, a large one in fact. And so we make our case very simply, that whether you look at it from a strategic point of view, from an overall economic relationship point of view, whether you look at it from a trade point of view, there is no case for imposing tariffs on Australian steel exports to the United States", Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told the press.
Trump said the duties were necessary in the name of national security. Canada disagreed.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, scoffed at the thought. "That Canada could pose any kind of security threat to the United States is inconceivable. In recent days, we have worked energetically with our American counterparts to secure a tariff, an exemption for Canada from these tariffs. This work continues, and it will continue until the prospect of these duties is fully and permanently lifted."
Rebuilding the US’s aluminium and steel industries was a major pledge in Trump’s election campaign and he says the nation will “win big” in any future trade war.