Australian steel gets USA tariff exemption

EU seeks clarity on whether it will be hit by US tariffs

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"Working very quickly on a security agreement so we don't have to impose steel or aluminum tariffs on our ally, the great nation of Australia", Trump said.

Mr Ciobo refused to criticise directly Mr Trump's much-maligned protectionist moves, however, saying he was "not going to lecture another country about what they do on trade".

Mr Turnbull said Mr Trump had acknowledged the trade relationship between Australia and the United States was a fair and reciprocal one.

Questions have been raised over what such a security agreement might entail, especially in light of Mr Trump telling the prime minister in February he would love Australia to join the U.S. on new freedom of navigation exercises in the South China Sea. Trump said in his tweet. "This is a very important matter for Australia, it's also a very important principle", Bishop told Australian Broadcasting's AM program.

He has already said that Mexico and Canada will be exempt.

Mr Trump responded on Twitter, saying that if European Union countries "drop their horrific barriers & tariffs on USA products going in, we will likewise drop ours". Numerous measures would raise tariffs on United States products from politically-sensitive areas, such as the home districts of congressional leaders, and range from motorcycles to bourbon to peanut butter.

Australia's major steel exporter BlueScope might get favourable treatment because it has a substantial presence in the United States and sends steel from Port Kembla to its manufacturing plant in California.

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"I don't provide a running commentary on all of my advocacy with foreign governments, including the government of the USA", he said.

"We're making contacts at every level throughout the administration, including business representatives, to make our case", Bishop added. We'll be doing something with some other countries, he said.

However, Trump indicated that the Australian could be the third country.

"If we see retaliation and counter-retaliation, this could turn into a very big shock for the world economy".

Bishop also reported that she had contacted several NY businessmen who are close to the Trump empire, to lobby against Trump's steel tariffs.

On Thursday, Trump had said that America will remain open to modifying or removing the tariffs for individual nations.

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