UPDATE – US sanctions Iran's metal sectors as tensions heighten

                              ADDS DETAILS THROUGHOUT </p>  <p>By Michael Hernandez</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - U.S. President Donald Trump imposed sanctions on Iran's iron, steel, aluminum, and copper sectors Wednesday as tension between the rivals escalates. </p>  <p>The penalties, contained in an executive order, affect what Trump called the Iranian government's &quot;largest non-petroleum-related sources of export revenue&quot; one year after he pulled the U.S. out of a landmark nuclear accord that placed unprecedented curbs on Tehran's nuclear program. </p>  <p>Trump and his senior officials have embarked upon a wide-ranging campaign to ramp up pressure on the Iranian government in the time since, including reimposing U.S. sanctions on Iran's oil sector that were lifted as part of the 2015 agreement. </p>  <p>&quot;Tehran can expect further actions unless it fundamentally alters its conduct,&quot; the president said in a statement. &quot;Since our exit from the Iran deal, which is broken beyond repair, the United States has put forward 12 conditions that offer the basis of a comprehensive agreement with Iran.&quot;</p>  <p>Trump long decried the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action before unilaterally exiting Washington from the multilateral accord brokered under former President Barack Obama. </p>  <p>The Trump administration has called on the U.S.'s negotiating partners -- the U.K., France, Germany, China, Russia and the EU -- to follow the U.S. lead, but none have to date, insisting the agreement is the best way to ensure Iran not attain a nuclear weapon.</p>  <p>The deal granted Iran sweeping relief from international sanctions in exchange for unprecedented curbs on and inspections of its nuclear program. </p>  <p>In one of the administration's most critical efforts to force Iran to quit the deal, the Trump administration declined to renew waivers that allowed seven countries and Taiwan to continue to import Iranian oil.</p>  <p>Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said earlier Wednesday that Iran would resume high level enrichment of uranium to near weapons-grade levels if his country’s interests in the nuclear deal are not protected within 60 days.</p>  <p>Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, said Tehran will suspend implementation of two of the deal's key articles, because following through on them is no longer possible due to U.S. sanctions announced May 4 that prohibited the activities.</p>  <p>&quot;Iran is not engaged in escalating tensions, Iran does not want clashes,&quot; Zarif said. &quot;Iran is a party to the dialogue, a country that has proved in recent years that it is possible to solve the fundamental problems of the world through dialogue.&quot;<br> <br> </p>  <p> </p>  <p> 

US sanctions Iran's metal sectors as tensions heighten

             By Michael Hernandez</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - U.S. President Donald Trump imposed sanctions on Iran's iron, steel, aluminum, and copper sectors Wednesday as tensions between the rivals escalates. </p>  <p>The penalties affect what Trump called the Iranian government's &quot;largest non-petroleum-related sources of export revenue&quot; one year after he pulled the U.S. out of a landmark nuclear accord that placed unprecedented curbs on Tehran's nuclear program. </p>  <p>Trump and his senior officials have embarked upon a wide-ranging campaign to ramp up pressure on the Iranian government in the time since, including reimposing sanctions on Iran's oil sector that were lifted as part of the 2015 agreement. </p>  <p>&quot;Tehran can expect further actions unless it fundamentally alters its conduct,&quot; the president said in a statement. &quot;Since our exit from the Iran deal, which is broken beyond repair, the United States has put forward 12 conditions that offer the basis of a comprehensive agreement with Iran.&quot;

UPDATE – Trump announces steel, aluminum tariffs

ADDS REACTION FROM CANADA, EU

By Barry Eitel

SAN FRANCISCO (AA) – President Donald Trump said Thursday the United States would implement stiff new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

Trump said the new tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and a 10 percent on aluminum imports would take effect next week.

The “disgraceful” treatment of U.S. steel and aluminum producers by other nations, especially China, helped lead to the decision, Trump said.

"And when it comes to a time when our country can't make aluminum and steel – and somebody said it before and I will tell you – you almost don't have much of a country, because without steel and aluminum, your country is not the same,” he said announcing the new tax.

"We need great steel makers, great aluminum makers for defense."

The Dow Jones industrial average disapproved of the move, plunging nearly 500 points in afternoon trading — a 2 percent decrease.

Shares of Pennsylvania-based U.S. Steel, the second-largest steel producer in the nation, rose nearly 6 percent to $46.07.

Approximately 90 percent of aluminum used in American manufacturing is imported as well as one-third of steel. Industry groups believe consumers will bear the brunt of the tariffs because of increased prices for items like beer, cars and other objects built of or packaged in metals.

“These proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports couldn’t come at a worse time,” said Cody Lusk, CEO of auto industry advocate the American International Automobile Dealers Association, in a statement.

“Auto sales have flattened in recent months, and manufacturers are not prepared to absorb a sharp increase in the cost to build cars and trucks in America. The burden of these tariffs, as always, will be passed on to the American consumer.”

Democrat and Republican politicians also criticized the announcement.

"Let's be clear: The President is proposing a massive tax increase on American families,” Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican, said in a statement shortly after the announcement.

“Protectionism is weak, not strong.”

Reaction also came from Canada where the tariffs will be a blow to that economy, which is the largest exporter of steel and aluminum to the U.S.

In 2017, Canadian exports of steel accounted for 16 percent of the 26.9 metric tons imported by the U.S. The dollar value and amount of aluminum exported Canada’s southern neighbor, however, were not readily available.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland in a statement called the tariffs “absolutely unacceptable” and that “Canada will take responsive measures to defend its trade interests and workers” if the tariffs are enacted next week.

Freeland also chided the U.S. for the tariffs she said would harm workers in both countries.

“Any restrictions would harm workers, the industry and manufacturers on both sides of the border,” she said. “The steel and aluminum industry is highly integrated and supports critical North American manufacturing supply chains.”

The head of the Canadian arm of the United Steelworkers union, Ken Neumann, said the tariff could “decimate” the steel industry in Canada. He made the remark one day before Trump announced the tariffs.

The tariff announcement takes place as Mexico, Canada and the U.S. are in the seventh round of North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiations this week in Mexico City.

And the European Commission promised “countermeasures” against American goods to “rebalance” trade between Europe and the U.S.

"We strongly regret this step, which appears to represent a blatant intervention to protect US domestic industry and not to be based on any national security justification,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a statement.

*Anadolu Agency correspondent Ata Ufuk Seker in Brussels and Barry Ellsworth in Canada contributed to this report.

Trump announces steel, aluminum tariffs

By Barry Eitel

SAN FRANCISCO (AA) – President Donald Trump said Thursday that the United States would implement stiff new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

Trump said the new tariffs would go into effect next week. The president said he would impose a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports.

Trump said the treatment of U.S. steel and aluminum producers by other nations, especially China, has been “disgraceful”.

"And when it comes to a time when our country can't make aluminum and steel – and somebody said it before and I will tell you – you almost don't have much of a country, because without steel and aluminum, your country is not the same,” Trump said during the announcement.

"We need great steel makers, great aluminum makers for defense."

In response to the news, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged nearly 500 points in afternoon trading, about a 2 percent decrease. Shares of Pennsylvania-based U.S. Steel, the second-largest steel producer in the country, rose nearly 6 percent to $46.07.

Roughly 90 percent of aluminum used in American manufacturing is imported as well as one-third of steel. Industry groups believe it will be consumers who face the brunt of the tariffs because of increased prices for items like beer, cars and other objects built of or packaged in the metals.

“These proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports couldn’t come at a worse time,” said Cody Lusk, CEO of auto industry advocate the American International Automobile Dealers Association, in a statement Thursday.

“Auto sales have flattened in recent months, and manufacturers are not prepared to absorb a sharp increase in the cost to build cars and trucks in America. The burden of these tariffs, as always, will be passed on to the American consumer.”

Both Democrat and Republican politicians also criticized the announcement.

"Let's be clear: The President is proposing a massive tax increase on American families,” Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican, said in a statement shortly after Trump’s announcement.

“Protectionism is weak, not strong.”