New Zealand disappointed over US steel tariff move

The Government is disappointed New Zealand has not been included in the announcement by President Trump on exemptions from steel and aluminium tariffs, Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker says.

 “Disappointment has also been expressed by other countries including South Africa and Japan, which has reportedly described the move as extremely regrettable,” David Parker says.

 Japan has indicated it is considering its options under the WTO.

 The situation remains unclear even in regard to those countries named as having an exemption.

 “We are concerned at the possible implications for our domestic producers. While our exports of steel and aluminium to the US are not large, they are important to the businesses and workers in those industries,” David Parker says.

 “We are seeking clarity from the US Administration on the way forward. As you know, the Prime Minister and I have already written to our US counterparts, and have directed officials to engage at all levels. I have also spoken to the US Ambassador to New Zealand. 

“The omission of New Zealand from the list of exempted countries belies our positive bilateral relationship. New Zealand is a strong security and defence partner for the US, and we enjoy a healthy and balanced trade relationship.  

“I understand the US is seeking quota limits on steel and aluminium exports from a number of countries to the US that would probably breach WTO rules.” 

David Parker says New Zealand is a strong supporter of the rules-based trading system, particularly given the benefits this presents for small nations.  

“That is why this Government continues to pursue high-quality free trade agreements, such as CPTPP, which also reflect our broader objectives.”