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US introduces tariffs on steel, aluminum imports from key allies

June 01, 7:53 UTC+3 WASHINGTON

One of reasons behind the move was lack of progress in negotiations on NAFTA agreement, which "are taking longer than we hoped," the US commerce secretary said

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© AP Photo/Martin Meissner

WASHINGTON, June 1. /TASS/. The US government will add a 25-percent tariff on steel and 10-percent on aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico starting from Friday.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced the decision during a special conference call on Thursday. The official was visiting Paris to meet with EU leaders, who were trying to avert the tariffs.

"He [US President Donald Trump] has decided in the case of Canada, Mexico and the European Union not to extend the exemptions. And therefore, they will be placed under the 25% tariff on steel and the 10% tariff aluminum effective midnight tonight," Ross said.

He admitted that one of reasons behind the move was lack of progress in negotiations on NAFTA agreement, which "are taking longer than we hoped."

Ross said that the exemption will remain in place for Argentina, Australia and Brazil, but "limitations" will be implemented "on the volume [of steel and aluminum] they can ship to the US."

On March 23, Washington introduced new duties on steel and aluminum products - 25% for steel and 10% for aluminum. They are valid for all countries that supply products to the US, but Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, as well as the EU countries were granted a deferral.

In late May, Russia notified the WTO about possible retaliatory measures in connection with the introduction of the US duties.

The EU has announced that it would proportionally respond to US trade tariffs, as well as initiate proceedings as part of the WTO.

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