US President Donald Trump pledged that the import taxes on steel and aluminum he will enact on Thursday will be "very fair", citing possible exemptions for Mexico , Canada, Australia "and other" countries. "We will be very fair, we will be very flexible," Donald Trump launched a few hours before the promulgation of these taxes, whose announcement has rekindled the specter of a trade war between the United States ] and many of his allies, while creating disagreements within his own Republican Party and within the White House .
The signing will take place at 3:30 pm (8:30 pm GMT), announced the US executive in a statement. Donald Trump announced just a week ago his intention to impose 25% steel imports and 10% aluminum. In brief statements to the press in the presence of key members of his administration, he hinted Thursday that some countries could escape these tariffs.
"We have very good relations with Australia, we have a surplus Australia, a great country, a partner for a long time, we will do something with them, "he said. "We will do something with other countries", he added, while being very critical of Germany, on the issue of trade but also its spending on defense within NATO .
The US President also confirmed that his decision on Mexico and Canada would ultimately depend on the outcome of the ongoing negotiations on the North Free Trade Agreement. American (Alena) uniting the United States and these two countries. "If we find an agreement, it is very likely that we will not impose taxes on these two countries," he said.
He had mentioned earlier in a tweet the need to protect the US steel and aluminum industries while demonstrating "great flexibility and cooperation with those who are true friends and treat us fairly in both trade and defense" . Canada, the largest trading partner and the largest steel supplier in the United States, has been heavily lobbying the Trump administration in recent days.
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland met with Republican leader Paul Ryan, who himself urged the US president not to apply taxes for all countries. In the face of the outcry around the world, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Wednesday that there could be "waivers" for Mexico and Canada and "potentially other countries"
US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had also shown signs of appeasement. The relaxation of the Republican president's tone also coincides with the demand of a hundred Republican elected representatives of the House of Representatives not to impose uniform taxes.
On the external plane, Washington has attracted the wrath of the European Union which has hammered out that a trade war would be harmful to all parties including the United States. "It is now time for political leaders on both sides of the Atlantic to act responsibly," urged European Council President Donald Tusk, adding that the dispute will be on the agenda of the next EU summit in Brussels on 22 and March 23.
One of the Vice-Presidents of the European Commission Jyrki Katainen on Thursday made a regulatory provision: Donald Trump can not exempt a member state of the EU from taxes without mechanically driving an exemption from all EU. Well before the promulgation of these taxes, the EU has prepared a response. Commissioner for Foreign Trade Cecilia Malmström has detailed a list of American products that could be taxed, including the famous peanut butter, to compensate in value the damage caused to the European industry.
Europeans export about 5 billion euros of steel and 1 billion euros of aluminum each year to the United States. Thursday, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is in turn on the rise, fearing that the escalation of protectionist measures does not compromise growth. On the side of other trading partners, Beijing said Thursday it would adopt a "appropriate and necessary response" to possible US trade sanctions. "In our globalized world, those who resort to commercial warfare choose the wrong remedy, they will only penalize others while penalizing themselves," said Foreign Minister Wang Yi.