U.S. President Donald Trump is set to sign an executive order on Thursday, local time (9:00 a.m. on Friday, Korea time) to impose sweeping tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Peter Navarro, director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy at the White House, told Fox Business Network that Trump would sign the proclamations “with a bunch of men and women from steel country and aluminum country coming in to see the president.” The official added that the tariffs go into effect “within 15 to 30 days.”
Unlike the original plan to make no exemptions but Canada and Mexico, signatories to the North American Free Trade Agreement, the White House said other countries could also be excluded from the tariffs, drawing keen attention to whether South Korea will be included in the exemptions.
“There are potential carve-outs for Mexico and Canada based on national security, and possibly other countries as well based on that process,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Wednesday.
“The White House shift came after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made a last-minute appeal for flexibility, saying that overly broad tariffs would damage key security ties with U.S. allies,” the Washington Post reported. The White House’s mention of “national security” as a basis for the exemption is viewed as a consideration for allies.
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