Trump Trade Adviser Sees Business Exemptions for New Tariffs

- A top trade adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump said a process will be in place for businesses to get exemptions from the White House plan to place steep tariffs on steel and aluminum, offering the first indication a tariff hike could be less broad than first thought. Peter Navarro, director of the White House National Trade Council, said countries will not be excluded from the tariffs because that would become a slippery slope, but there will be a mechanism for corporate exemptions in some cases.

“There will be an exemption procedure for particular cases where we need to have exemptions, so that business can move forward,” Navarro said.

The scenario of possible exceptions came after Trump’s surprise announcement and subsequent aggressive business lobbying against the tariffs, an outcry from U.S. trading partners and criticism from fellow Republicans.

Trump has spoken to world leaders about the planned tariff hikes but has given no indication he would allow exemptions, said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

The president said the United States would impose duties of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum to protect domestic producers. The plan stunned U.S. trading partners, alarmed American industry leaders and roiled stock markets.

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