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Taiwan to seek exemption from U.S. steel tariffs

2018/03/18 18:24:28

John Deng (鄧振中)/CNA file photo

Taipei, March 18 (CNA) A Taiwanese delegation led by John Deng (鄧振中), Taiwan's top trade negotiator, departed Sunday for the United States with the aim of seeking an exemption from the Donald Trump administration's new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

The delegation, comprising economic and trade officials, will seek negotiations with U.S. foreign trade agencies during its one-week visit on tariffs to be implemented on steel and aluminum imports into the U.S., in a bid to protect the interests of Taiwanese exporters, Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said that day.

Meanwhile, representatives from the domestic steel industry have also headed to the U.S. in various groups to seek talks with U.S. congressional leaders through their customers there, Shen said.

Deng said a day earlier that the delegation's visit is to convey domestic steel and aluminum industry concern over the new tariffs, highlight Taiwan's role as an important security partner of the U.S. and explain to the U.S. that Taiwan's steel and aluminum makers do not pose a threat to their U.S. counterparts.

The delegation will also seek to learn about concrete measures the U.S. will adopt to impose heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

The domestic steel industry said that with the U.S. representing Taiwan's largest steel export market, accounting for 13 percent of the country's steel exports, the imposition of the tariffs on steel imports from Taiwan is expected to have a significant impact on the industry, and it expressed hope that the government will seek the most favorable conditions for the industry to reduce the impact.

Trump signed an order under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 March 8 to impose a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum. The duties are expected to take effect March 23.

According to the order, Canada and Mexico have been temporarily exempted from the tariffs.

The order has also opened the door to the country's security and trade partners that want to get tariff waivers, as long as they can offer satisfactory alternatives during their talks with the U.S. Trade Representative office.

Taiwan's steel industry output for 2017 was about NT$1.116 trillion (US$38.27 billion), with exports accounting for 27 percent of the total, according to data provided by the Bureau of Foreign Trade.

(By Huang Ya-chuan and Evelyn Kao)