MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Australia will not join any EU complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) about President Donald Trump’s introduction of new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Monday.
“There was speculation in the media about actions taken with other countries to do with these US steel and aluminium tariffs… As a country that is exempt from US tariffs, we cannot bring up that complaint. I just want be clear about that,” Turnbull told reporters, as quoted by The Guardian.
Australian Trade Minister Steve Ciobo said that the authorities would consider a possibility of supporting the European Union in the event of initiation a dispute in the WTO about new US tariffs.
On March 8, Trump signed a policy that imposes 25-percent tariff on US imports of steel and a 10-percent tariff on aluminum for an indefinite period of time. The action will go into effect in 15 days. The following day, European Commission’s Vice-President Jyrki Katainen said that the European Union was ready to go to the WTO Court over Trump’s decision to impose high tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, but expressed hope that the bloc would be excluded from the new US trade barriers.
Later on, Trump said that in a phone call with Turnbull he discussed fair trade and developing a security agreement with Australia to avoid imposing tariffs on Canberra.
Toughening trade policy and US withdrawal from the multilateral free trade agreements were one of the key pillars of Trump’s pre-election program, with which he managed to win the presidential vote in 2016.