US steel tariff decision disappoints Cabinet

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Cabinet expresses its disappointment at the decision by the United States not to exempt South Africa from the application of steel and aluminum duties.

“The South African government will continue to engage with US authorities to find a mutually acceptable outcome,” said Minister of Communications Nomvula Mokonyane on Thursday.

She was briefing the media on the Cabinet meeting held yesterday.

“Cabinet also encourages domestic exporters to continue to lobby US buyers to apply for product exemptions, as South African companies export niche products and semi-processed products for further processing in the US,” the Minister said.

On Monday last week, US President Donald Trump signed proclamations granting permanent country-exemptions to a select number of countries and extended by one month the Section 232 steel and aluminium tariff duty exemptions for some.

The proclamation follows the 8 March proclamation signed by President Trump to impose a 10% ad valorem tariff on imports of aluminium articles and a 25% ad valorem tariff on imports of steel articles. These excluded select countries including Canada, Mexico, the European Union, South Korea, Australia, Argentina and Brazil.

The proclamation followed reports from the Secretary of Commerce that imports of these products threaten to impair US national security. 

South Africa, through the Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies, made representations to the US, including two written submissions. In addition, South African Ambassador to the US Mninwa Mahlangu also engaged with the White House National Security Council staff, State Department, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) and Commerce Department.

Minister Davies also had teleconferences with Ambassador CJ Mahoney, the Deputy USTR for Investment, Services, Labour, Environment, Africa, China and the Western Hemisphere on 22 March 2018 and again on 30 April 2018. - SAnews.gov.za

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