Obtaining exemption from US President Donald Trump’s steel and aluminium tariff hikes is far from guaranteed for a country such as SA. Just requesting it could trigger a review of SA’s trade preferences with the US. The Trump administration shocked the global community by announcing last week that the US would be imposing tariffs of 10% on imported aluminium and 25% on imported steel from March 23. The EU and China have said they are considering imposing retaliatory tariff hikes against US goods, sparking fear of a global trade war. Trump’s proclamation makes provision for domestic users and exporting countries to obtain exemption from the new tariff regime. This is something the Department of Trade and Industry believes SA should be afforded.It is to make a formal submission for exemption, arguing that since South African steel and aluminium exports account for just 1.4% and 1.6% respectively, "SA’s exports do not impose a threat to US industry and jobs". In fact, since South Afric...

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