Associations Issue Statements On Recent Steel And Aluminum Tariffs

Chris Kleponis- CNP  Newscom

The Turnbull government has ruled out participating in a World Trade Organisation action against US President Donald Trump's steel and aluminium tariffs, saying the exemption granted to Australia removes any grounds for complaint. "The initial USA tariffs could lead to an escalation of punitive, retaliatory tariffs by trading partners despite the known welfare damaging effects", S&P Global Ratings economist Paul Gruenwald said.

"At the moment it has worked out ok, but in the long term it's going to be a bad thing", Capital Economics' chief Australia and New Zealand economist Paul Dales told Xinhua.

But Mr Turnbull says Australia has a strong anti-dumping regime and it is prepared for steel imports. "We have given them more money", he said. According to data from S&P Global Platts a small amount of the 2% of imported steel that came into the USA a year ago was from China.

The speculation and uncertainty of the past two weeks however has wreaked havoc on the company's ASX share price, falling nearly 9.5 percent from a high of 16.78 cents (AUD) to 15.19 cents (AUD).

Australian Trade Minister Steve Ciobo said that the authorities would consider a possibility of supporting the European Union in the event of initiation a dispute in the WTO about new U.S. tariffs. "It cannot get any better", the Prime Minister said.

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"Sometimes that steel is dumped for ridiculously low prices and that smashes our local businesses, our local industry and our local workers", Labor finance spokesman Jim Chalmers told Sky News.

In February he told Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull he would love for Australia to join the USA on freedom of navigation exercises in the South China Sea.

Turnbull also made the announcement that despite Australia's opposition to protectionism, due to the exemption granted by Washington, the government would not join any other nations that may decide to legally challenge the tariffs.

"As (it's) our nation's largest trading partner, Congresswoman Stefanik is encouraged by the exemption of Canada from these tariffs; however, she still has concerns that these tariffs will increase costs on consumers, invites retaliation from other countries, and will hurt our ability to export", Mr. Flanagin said.

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