While Pesident Trump is yet to announce if US Steel Industry tariffs announced on Friday will apply to Australia, Federal Member for Grey has spoken out against the proposed move by the US to put large protectionist tariffs on imported steel.
“President Trump’s announcement that the US would impose tariffs of 25% on imported steel and 10% on aluminum is extremely concerning“, Mr Ramsey said. “It is even more concerning if it is to apply to Australia as it seemingly flies in the face of our mutual Free Trade Agreement.
“While Liberty Onesteel in Whyalla is not likely to be impacted as much as Blue Scope in the Eastern States it is very concerning.
“Australia exports about $200m of steel into the US each year, most of this comes from Blue Scope. “I am not aware of any of Whyalla heavy long-products going into the US market, but we should not underestimate the possible collateral impact of an all out steel trade war which could lead to steel intended for the US market finding its way to Australia.
“The freeing up of trade around the world has been an enormous boom and lifted 2 billion people out of poverty. For Australia it has delivered a world record of 23 years of uninterrupted economic growth and provided hundreds of thousands of jobs in a fast changing world. Australia must remain committed to these economic principals.
“Irrespective of this, we have an FTA with the US and I would expect that agreement to be honoured and Australia should be carved out of the tariffs announced by the US. I know Trade Minister Ciobo is totally committed to ensuring our agreement is adhered to and flat-out negotiating a commitment with the US.”
Mr Ramsey said while it is understandable the US is seeking to protect its steel industry from low-cost producers, Australia is certainly not one of those. “If anything we have a higher cost base than the US, higher electricity prices, higher labour costs and a freight disadvantage. It makes no sense that they would treat a most-favoured nation like Australia in this way. Any tariffs placed on Australia would definitely be counter-productive and misplaced.
“Protectionism and imposing higher tariffs across economies and products is a very bad outcome which would slow growth and in the medium to longer term is farm more likely likely to harm to the US economy than do good.
“I have contacted the Prime Minister on the issue and can assure everyone, that from Malcolm Turnbull down we will prevailing apron the US to do the right thing”