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Trump defends US steel and aluminium industries ahead of tariff deadline

Increased foreign production, especially by China, has driven down prices and hurt producers in America.

Donald Trump has defended the US steel and aluminium industries as he faces deadlines on whether to impose tariffs or quotas on imports of both products.

Increased foreign production, especially by China, has driven down prices and hurt American producers. The US commerce department has called the situation a national security threat.

US president Mr Trump tweeted that many US industries, including steel and aluminium “have been decimated by decades of unfair trade and bad policy with countries from around the world. We must not let our country, companies and workers be taken advantage of any longer. We want free, fair and SMART TRADE!”

Mr Trump has to make decisions on steel by April 11 and on aluminium by April 19.

Industry officials have been invited to the White House on Thursday, but it remains unclear what Mr Trump intends to announce and when.

Any action to impose tariffs is likely to escalate simmering tensions with China and other US trading partners. Critics of such a move fear that other countries will retaliate or use national security as a pretext to impose trade penalties of their own. They also argue that sanctions on imports will drive up prices and hurt US car makers and other companies which use steel or aluminium.

The Commerce Department is recommending tariffs on all steel and aluminium imports, higher tariffs on imports from specific countries or a quota on imports.

Mr Trump last year ordered an investigation into whether aluminum and steel imports posed a threat to national defense.

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