Israel has reportedly failed to win a reprieve from US sanctions on steel and aluminum imports, prompting warnings from a group of Israeli manufacturers over the future of the industries.
US President Donald Trump imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum in March, under a little-used weapon in US trade law declaring the imported metals as a threat to America’s national security.
Brazil, South Korea, Australia and Argentina have been given permanent exemptions to the tariffs, while temporary reprieves that were given to close trading partners, such as Canada, Mexico, and the European Union, have since expired.
Despite close diplomatic ties and a trade deal between them, Israel has yet to receive an exemption to the steel and aluminum tariffs, the Calcalist business daily reported Monday, even after recent meetings between officials from the Economy Ministry and Office of the United States Trade Representative on the matter.
Dan Catarivas, head of the foreign trade division at the Manufacturers Association of Israel and a former Finance Ministry official, was quoted by the Calcalist as making Israel’s frustration over the issue known to the assistant US Trade Representative for Europe and the Middle East .
“We are disappointed that despite Israel’s special status as a true friend of the US and the free trade agreement [between the countries], Israel has not been excluded from the imposition of tariffs like Australia,” Catarivas told Daniel Mullaney.
Catarivas said he also told Mullaney the tariffs are a “death blow” for Israeli manufacturers, particularly metal and aluminum producers in working class areas. He expressed concern that the tariffs could also affect industries that use steel and aluminum as inputs.
If Israel remains without an exemption, the tariffs are unlikely to have much direct effect on the overall economy, as Israeli steel and aluminum exports to the US amount to just $25 million a year, the Globes financial daily reported in March.
AP contributed to this report.