Australia 'called in' golf legend to help lobby Trump on steel tariffs

  • Australia 'called in' golf legend to help lobby Trump on steel tariffs

Australia 'called in' golf legend to help lobby Trump on steel tariffs

Australian steel and aluminum exports to the United States were worth just over A$400 million ($314 million) a year ago, government data showed.

During yesterday's signing of the tariffs, 25 per cent on imported steel and 10 per cent on aluminium, he confirmed Canada and Mexico would be exempted permanently if the ongoing renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement is successful.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters any exemptions would be on a "case by case" and a "country by country" basis, with potential carve-outs for Mexico and Canada on national security grounds.

A senior USA official says the measures will take effect about two weeks after Mr Trump signs the proclamation.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, US Ambassador Joe Hockey and other senior members of government argued Australia should be let off the hook because of its strong military and security ties to the US.

Although the not a major market for Australian steel and aluminum exporters, Australian officials expressed concerns that the tariffs would trigger retaliatory measures that could deeply impact global trade.

She was cautiously optimistic about the White House U-turn.

Trump praised Turnbull and "the great nation of Australia" in his announcement.

The US leader had also added Australia to a list of likely exemptions.

Labor says it's important the government has a contingency plan.

But Treasurer Scott Morrison said Mr Turnbull's work at building a trade relationship with the United States would pay off.

Trade Minister Steve Ciobo told AAP he wants to finalise a "positive outcome" in the next two weeks.

"We have a very close relationship with Australia, we have a trade surplus with Australia, great country long term partner we'll be doing something with them", he said.

She said Europe was ready to confront the issue.