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South Africa says U.S. exempts it from some steel, aluminium tariffs

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South Africa says U.S. exempts it from some steel, aluminium tariffs
FILE PHOTO: Trucks offload containers from ship at the port of Los Angeles in Los Angeles, California, U.S. July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo   -   Copyright  Mike Blake(Reuters)
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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa said on Wednesday that the United States had granted some local steel and aluminium producers exemptions from tariffs imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump this year.

Trump’s decision to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminium riled metals producers worldwide, though some major exporting nations secured exemptions for all their steel and aluminium products.

The U.S. Department of Commerce granted exemptions for 161 aluminium and 36 steel products made by companies whose U.S. customers asked for the exemptions, South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said on Wednesday.

Exempted products included aluminium foil and aluminium plates, sheets and strip, as well as steel hot-rolled bars, hot-rolled sheets, cold-rolled sheets, plates cut and plates in coils, the DTI said.

Shares in ArcelorMittal’s South African unit <ACLJ.J>, which produces some of the products covered by the exemptions, were up 8 percent at 1044 GMT.

The DTI, which earlier warned the tariffs could lead to job losses in manufacturing and mining, said it was still trying to get exemptions for all South African steel and aluminium products.

South African exports of aluminium products account for about 1.6 percent of total U.S. aluminium imports.

“The exemption of these products will contribute towards ensuring that jobs in companies producing these products are retained,” the DTI said.

Job cuts are a hot-button issue in South Africa, which is faced with near-record unemployment of about 27 percent and subdued growth in mining and manufacturing.

(Reporting by Alexander Winning; editing by Joe Brock, Larry King)

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