Trump tweets Turnbull: Australia off the hook on tariffs

doanld trump and malcolm turnbull
Donald Trump has paved the way for Australia to avoid tariffs in trade deal. Source: Getty

While the world fears a new trade war in imminent, Donald Trump has announced Australia is off the hook.

In a series of tweets exchanged between the pair on Saturday morning, Trump and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Australia would be exempt from new steel and aluminum tariffs the US is imposing on most exporters.

Trump praised Turnbull and “the great nation of Australia” in his announcement. 

“He is committed to having a very fair and reciprocal military and trade relationship,” Trump said on Twitter, referring to Turnbull.

“Working very quickly on a security agreement so we don’t have to impose steel or aluminum tariffs on our ally, the great nation of Australia.”

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Turnbull soon replied with his own tweet, saying Australia had “no closer ally” than the US.

“Great discussion today on security and trade. Australia/US trade is fair & reciprocal & each of our nations has no closer ally,” he wrote. “Thank you for confirming new tariffs won’t have to be imposed on Australian steel & aluminium – good for jobs in Australia and in US!”

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The announcement is a major diplomatic victory for the Turnbull government, which has been lobbying hard for Australia to be exempt from the tariffs.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, US Ambassador Joe Hockey and other senior members of government argued Australia should be let off the hook because of its strong military and security ties to the US. 

Earlier this week, Trump announced the US will impose a 25 per cent tariff on steel imports and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminium imports as part of its renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The announcement sparked talk of a trade war and fears the Australian mining industry would be placed under even more pressure as it attempts to compete with some of the world’s biggest exporters.

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According to The Australian, Australia exports $US210 million in steel and $US213 million in aluminium to the US each year.

Trump initially said Canada and Mexico were the only countries granted exemption from the tariffs, but that was conditional on the two countries conceding to America’s demands on other trade issues. 

Australia’s free pass comes after Turnbull flew to the US in February to meet with the president and US officials to discuss the future of trade, economic growth and security between the two nations. 

Are you glad to hear this news? Do you think it’s important for Australia to keep the US on-side?