SA asks for exemption from Trump metal tariffs

Cape Town - The Department of Trade and Industry has approached the US to ask that South Africa be excluded from recently-announced tariffs on the imports of steel and aluminium articles.

The duties, which take effect on Friday, include 10% tariff on the imports of aluminium, and a 25% tariff on imports of steel into the US. 

"The [tariff] proclamation makes provision for country-based exclusions from the duties should the US and that country arrive at a satisfactory alternative means to address the threat to the national security," said the department in media release.

"In this regard, the South African government through the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, has made a formal submission to the US requesting the exclusion of South Africa from the imposition of duties on steel and aluminium."

Countries that are excluded from the duties include members of the European Union, Canada, Mexico, Australia, South Korea and Brazil. 

The department said that Davies told US trade representatives that SA steel and aluminium products accounted for less than 2% of US imports.

"As such, SA does not a pose a threat to US national security and to the US steel and aluminium industries, but is a source of strategic primary and secondary products used in further value added manufacturing in the US contributing to jobs in both countries," said the department.

"Furthermore, SA assured the US that to a very large extent, the inputs for all steel and aluminium product exports to the US are sourced from local producers and that SA has a robust customs control system which prevents circumvention."

On Thursday March 22 in a statement Trump said countries affected by the duties were "welcome to discuss a possible suspension" of the tariffs based on a "shared commitment to addressing global excess steel and aluminum capacity and production".

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