Trade Minister hoping for NZ exemption to Trump's tariffs

The Government is still waiting to find out whether New Zealand will be exempt from new US steel and aluminium tariffs.

President Donald Trump imposed the tariffs, believing it will protect a domestic industry that's vital for the country's national security.

Hoping to get an exemption from the tariffsm the New Zealand ambassador in Washington has contacted top officials.

Australia has joined Mexico and Canada in being excluded, but Trade Minister David Parker says he is still waiting for an answer. 

He believes ultimately New Zealand is an ally to the United States, which could hopefully be reflected in an exemption.

"We are one of the security partners of the United States over many, many years, and we are doing our best to get an exemption for New Zealand steel exports to the United States," he told Newshub.

He says being in limbo isn't ideal for exporters and everyone is disadvantaged when tariffs go up.

"Both because of possible effect on their exports to the United States and the knock-on effect to steel exports from the rest of the world," he said.

"As a small trading nation on the bottom of the Pacific, we need to sell a lot of exports to the rest of the world in order to pay for what we import - whether its cars or computers or phones."

Mr Parker says he will be keeping a close eye on developments surrounding the tariffs.


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