Citing Impact Upon Small Business, Israeli Government Petitions Trump Administration for Aluminium Tariffs Exception

The Israeli government is engaging with the Trump Administration in an effort at winning an exemption to the blanket aluminium tariffs that were enacted on Friday, citing the tariffs as harming Israeli businesses far more than it protects American ones.

According to sources who spoke to a domestic media outlet, officials from Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry Foreign Trade Administration have already approached the United States Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration seeking an exemption on the recently-enacted tariffs.

Sources said that the Israeli government’s rationale was that the country exports only around US$4 million in aluminium to the United States each year, but the negligible volume compared to the overall U.S. import picture is tremendous when seen from the eyes of scores of small and medium-sized firms who export that metal to the States.

Though the administration enacted the tariffs as a response to apparent national security concerns, a handful of countries (plus the European Union) have been given exemptions. Industrial sources in Israel say the reasons for such exemptions have been exceedingly difficult to pin down.

“It is reasonable to assume that the US administration has a special interest in exempting each one of these countries from the customs duties reform at this stage. At least until early May, he will try to get something in exchange from each one of them,” opined an unnamed industrial source who spoke to Israeli media on the subject.

“At this stage, it is very difficult to assess the chances that the US administration will grant Israel’s request. The chances look 50-50 right now, and it is likely to take several weeks before a decision is made one way or the other,” the source said.

According to an Israeli trade group, between fifty and sixty companies will suffer effects from the aluminium tariffs.

“The US should exempt us from this measure in the name of friendship between the two countries and our common interests,” opined another aluminium industry source.

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