Australia-US trade relationship an example: PM

US eases way to more tariff exemptions under pressure

For the U.S., Trump has long touted and tweeted that economy will see big gains from the move, as he throws a lifeline to domestic manufacturers.

"If they drop their horrific barriers & tariffs on U.S. products going in, we will likewise drop ours".

Europe's top trade official, Cecilia Malmstroem, said trade is being used "as a weapon to threaten and intimidate us".

The tycoon's threat is part of a dispute over an announcement of tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, although the Trump administration has said it will consider exceptions and has already spared Mexico and Canada.

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The decision to tax German cars could be unwise since German producers employ 36,500 people in the USA, plus 80,000 jobs at German suppliers, Bernhard Mattes, president of the German Association of the Automotive Industry, told the Financial Times.

That will be hard according to people actually watching the negotiations as Trump's trade team, led by trade czar Robert Lighthizer and commerce chief Wilbur Ross, are asking for things that Canada and Mexico would never give. We believe that protectionism is a dead end, " French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire told reporters.

"With the European Union we're like $100 billion down on trade because we had stupid politicians", he said.

He says it's balanced trade agreements between the two nations that secured Australia's exemption from the United States' 25 per cent tariffs on imported steel and not any promise of further military co-operation.

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Michael Dolega, economist at TD Economics estimates that about 5,000 to 10,000 jobs could be added to steel and aluminum production in the US, but there could also be a loss of 25,000 to 50,000 jobs in metal-intensive sectors like machinery and transport equipment.

The EU trading bloc is seeking exemption from the tariffs.

Top US and European Union trade officials meeting in Brussels Saturday failed to overcome their differences, but Malmstroem said talks would continue this week.

"There is a global overcapacity issue and we are very pleased to work with our allies and friends to continue to counter that problem", he said.

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"Dialogue is always the prime option for the EU", European Commission spokesman Enrico Brivio said at a news briefing on Monday.


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