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U.S. declines to exempt Taiwan from steel, aluminum tariffs

Taiwan not exempt from U.S. steel tariffs.

Taiwan not exempt from U.S. steel tariffs. (CNA photo)

Taipei (CNA) - The White House announced on Monday it will extend a temporary exemption from additional tariffs on steel and aluminum for Canada, Mexico and the European Union, but Taiwan received no such exemption.

John Deng, Taiwan's top trade negotiator, told CNA Tuesday that the government needs a few days to determine why the U.S. government decided not to place Taiwan on the exemption list and will continue to work with the U.S. to secure an exemption.

Deng led a delegation to the U.S. in March to discuss possible alternatives to the tariffs and noted in his interview that the government is still exchanging opinions with the U.S. on the issue.

The White House granted Canada, Mexico and the EU a 30-day extension to a temporary exemption from the tariffs for further negotiations. The temporary exemption previously granted to the three economies expired on April 30, after a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum were imposed in early March.

On March 8, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an order under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to impose additional tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

It was the first time in more than three decades the law has been invoked to protect a domestic industry from competition brought about by imports, while Washington granted temporary exemptions to Canada, Mexico, the EU, Australia, Brazil, Argentina and South Korea.

The U.S. and South Korea previously reached an agreement to begin implementing a quota on imports in lieu of the tariffs, while the U.S. has reached a consensus with Australia, Brazil and Argentina in principle, though the details have yet to be confirmed.

In mid-April, Taiwan's Ministry of Finance (MOF) announced that it had launched anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations into select steel products sold by China on the local market.

In addition to protecting local steel manufacturers the MOF said the probes were also intended to provide Taiwan with a bargaining chip in talks with the U.S. as it sought an exemption from the steel and aluminum tariffs.

The MOF said Taiwan has no intention of getting involved in a trade war between the U.S. and China and launching the probe into China's steel products is expected to ensure Beijing cannot use Taiwan as a transit point to sell cheap steel products to the U.S. market. (By Rita Cheng, Frances Huang, Liao Yu-yang and Kuan-lin Liu)

Updated : 2021-06-23 20:48 GMT+08:00