Trade Minister David Parker needs to secure an exemption for New Zealand from recent American steel and aluminium tariffs from his trip to Washington DC, National’s Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson Todd McClay says.

“Earlier this year, US President Donald Trump imposed a 25 per cent tariff on all steel and a 10 per cent tariff on all aluminium imports into the United States. This made it much harder for New Zealand steel and aluminium exporters to get their product into the world’s largest market and sets a concerning precedent in our trade relationship with the US.

“New Zealand is a strong trading nation that values open and constructive dialogue with its trading partners. The United States is New Zealand’s third largest trading partner, however, the threat of escalating tariffs remain an issue of concern for our exporters.

“Australia has already been granted an exemption from these steel and aluminium tariffs following a visit to Washington by their Trade Minister.

“It is in the best interests of both New Zealand and the United States we also receive the same treatment as Australia and that the additional steel and aluminium tariffs are removed.

“Tariffs hurt global trade and New Zealand’s overall economy, so the Trade Minister must come back from his trip with a guarantee that New Zealand steel and aluminium exports will be exempt from these US tariffs.”

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