Trump is said to favour stiffest U.S. steel, aluminium tariffs

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"T$3 he Secretary of Commerce concludes that the present quantities and circumstance of steel imports are "weakening our internal economy" and threaten to impair the national security as defined in Section 232", the department said.

The Commerce Department has been urging President Donald Trump to impose tariffs or quotas on imported aluminum and steel.

Another, more surgical, option outlined by the Commerce Department report includes a tariff of at least 53 per cent on steel imports from a select number of countries, including China, India and Brazil, while other countries would have their shipments capped at the amount they exported to the US a year ago.

Some political analysts and economists have speculated that Mr Trump would take a targeted approach to the tariffs, and he is under pressure from members of his Republican party to refrain from measures that may antagonise other countries and disrupt supply chains.

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The White House is considering a 24% tariff on all steel imports-the most severe recommendation put forth by the commerce department.

"As with every decision he makes, the security of the American people and the American economy will be the president's primary concerns while he considers his potential options", White House spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the president has made reciprocal trade a priority in his economic agenda. And imposing tariffs on imported steel and aluminum was a campaign promise Trump meant to keep. Mr Trump has until April 11 to make a decision on steel and April 19 for aluminium. Tariffs would start a trade war President Trump campaigned on a protectionist platform, and he said, "We can not be without a steel industry".

According to Bloomberg, Trump is considering announcing his decision on steel at an event in Pennsylvania, a Rust Belt state he won in the 2016 presidential race, ahead of a special congressional election there.

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There is resistance even within his own administration. In July 2017, The Financial Times reported European Union officials were already formulating a list of USA goods, including whiskey, orange juice, and dairy products to target for retaliation over Trump's plans to invoke national security concerns to limit steel imports.

Liu is the top adviser to Xi on economic policy and is also expected to become vice premier overseeing the Chinese economy.

"In addition, we recommend an inter-agency group further refine the targeted tariffs, so as to creative incentives for trade partners to work with the USA on addressing the underlying issue of Chinese transshipment", Mattis said, in the memo.

Exports from China to the United States reached 1.18 million tonnes previous year. China produces a total of 800 million tonnes of steel each year, equal to about half of global output.

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