Tariff exemption a sigh of relief: Poll

Directly subjecting Australia to US President Donald Trump's proposed steel and aluminium tariffs would have been dire for the country's resources sector, according to more than half (63%) of respondents in Financial Standard's weekly spot poll.

Australia fortunately will be exempt from the steel and aluminium tariffs of 25% and 10% respectively imposed by US President Donald Trump after he announced it on Twitter on March 9.

After speaking to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Trump said he is "committed to having a very fair and reciprocal military and trade relationship" and both leaders are "working very quickly on a security agreement so we don't have to impose steel or aluminium tariffs." Mexico and Canada are also exempt.

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive James Pearson said Australia must now use its diplomatic skills to help to avert a global trade war that no one will win.

"The selective application of tariffs might have short term political appeal, but in the long run it distorts the flow of trade and runs the risk of tit-for-trade sanctions that will wreak broader economic harm. In the end, no country wins when tariffs are selectively applied," he said.

For example, if exporting nations withdraw from the US market they will look for other markets, including Australia, and so the global market might become distorted, Pearson added.

"Tariffs are a tax on imports that makes it more expensive to do business and impose unnecessary costs on households," he said.

"As such, the Australian Chamber continues to call for the phasing out of all tariffs - including those applied by Australia on imported goods - and the rejection of increased anti-dumping actions outside of those sanctioned by the World Trade Organisation."

In this week's poll, we ask: Does climate change pose as a significant risk to your investments?

Read more: TariffsDonald TrumpUS PresidentFinancial StandardAustralian Chamber of CommerceCanadaJames PearsonMalcolm TurnbullMexicoPrime MinisterSteel tariffs
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