Trump says he's working with Australia on tariff exemption

Trump says he's working with Australia on tariff exemption
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Democrats duke it out in most negative debate so far MORE said Friday that he's working on a "security agreement" with Australia that would exempt the country from stiff tariffs on steel and aluminum imports the U.S. imposed this week.

Trump tweeted that he had spoken to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and that the two leaders were committed to "having a very fair and reciprocal military and trade relationship."

"Working very quickly on a security agreement so we don’t have to impose steel or aluminum tariffs on our ally, the great nation of Australia!" Trump tweeted. 

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The president's tweet came a day after he imposed tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports. Those duties are set to take effect in the next few weeks.

Canada and Mexico have been exempted from the tariffs, and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinFinancial trade tax gains traction with 2020 Democrats Hillicon Valley: Agencies play catch-up over TikTok security concerns | Senate Dems seek sanctions on Russia over new election meddling | Pentagon unveils AI principles Senate Democrats urge Trump administration to impose sanctions on Russia for election interference MORE held open the possibility on Friday of granting exemptions to other allies.

"My expectation is there may be some other countries [Trump] considers in the next two weeks," Mnuchin said on CNBC.

The tariffs drew fire from many foreign governments, who warned that they could take retaliatory trade measures against the U.S. if Trump made good on his plan to levy the heavy duties on steel and aluminum.

Turnbull later tweeted that Trump was "confirming" Australia's exemption.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop acknowledged on Friday that Australian officials had recruited the help of golf legend Greg Norman, a personal friend of Trump's, to lobby the U.S. president on the tariffs, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

-Updated March 10 at 11:18 a.m.