President Donald Trump on Thursday said the United States’ “real friends” who are “fair” on trade, as well as the military, will likely be given an exemption from Trump’s new tariffs on aluminum and steel imports.
“We have to protect and build our steel and aluminum industries while at the same time showing great flexibility and cooperation toward those that are real friends and treat us fairly on both trade and military,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning.
Looking forward to 3:30 P.M. meeting today at the White House. We have to protect & build our Steel and Aluminum Industries while at the same time showing great flexibility and cooperation toward those that are real friends and treat us fairly on both trade and the military.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 8, 2018
Trump announced last week that he plans to order new tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum. He initially claimed the White House would not “back down” on the new measures, even for Mexico, Canada and members of the European Union. Trump later walked that back, saying if the U.S. is able to negotiate a better deal on the North American Free Trade Agreement, there might be room for exemptions for certain countries.
Thursday’s tweet echoes the White House’s sentiment this week — that there might be “carve outs” for countries like Mexico, Canada and some in Europe, for national security purposes.
While the White House claims there is no one factor that led to the resignation of economic adviser Gary Cohn, multiple news outlets report that he resigned over the tariff plan. Bloomberg News reported Wednesday that Trump asked for Cohn’s loyalty on the new tariffs just hours before Cohn offered his resignation.
Like Cohn, Republicans in Congress are uneasy about Trump’s tariff plan, arguing the move could set off a global trade war and could harm the economic momentum ignited by the Republican tax cuts and Trump’s deregulation measures.