Washington, March 4 (AFP/APP): US President Donald Trump appears intent on moving forward next week on US steel and aluminum tariffs with no exemptions for allies, the US commerce secretary said Sunday, downplaying the threat of retaliation as “pretty trivial.”
“I know he's had conversations with a number of the world leaders,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on ABC's “This Week.” “The decision, obviously, is his. But as of the moment, as far as I know, he's talking about a fairly broad brush.” In a subsequent interview on NBC's “Meet the Press,” Ross allowed for the possibility that Trump may yet change his mind, as he has on other issues. “We shall see. We shall see. I know a lot of ministers from a lot of countries have been talking with the president. They have been talking with me. They have been talking with others. We'll see. The president makes the decisions,” he said.
Trump ignited fears of a trade war and an outcry from US trading partners this week when he abruptly announced blanket 25 percent tariffs on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum. British Prime Minister Theresa May said she raised her “deep concern” over the tariffs in a phone call with Trump on Sunday, her office said. The European Union has said it is drawing up measures against leading US brands like Harley-Davidson and Levi's jeans, while China warned it “won't sit idly by” if its interests are hurt. Canada, which has the most to lose as the top source of US steel and aluminum imports, has called the tariffs “unacceptable.”