UK Trade Secretary Liam Fox is traveling to the United States and meeting with government and economic officials in an effort to seek exemption from the newly announced US steel and aluminum tariffs. Two weeks ago, President Donald Trump declared that his country will begin imposing a 25% duty on imported steel and a 10% tariff on imported aluminum with the goal of strengthening and protecting the internal US production of those materials. Trump believes that the US production of steel and aluminum has suffered due to unfair trade regulations and his objective is to boost the domestic market for these industries.
In a response to these tariffs, the European Union said it will be requesting an exemption of the duties for all of its 28 member countries, including the UK. Many countries, including influential China, have criticized Trump’s new trade plan, which goes into effect in just two weeks. Neighboring nations Mexico and Canada were granted a temporary exemption from the tariffs due to their partnership in the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The US risks alienating many of its most important global allies and these countries have already threatened to bring this matter in front of the World Trade Organization (WTO). On Friday, Trump tweeted an indication that he was willing to work with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to ensure that his country will not be subject to the tariffs.