Tariff deal is a big result for region’s mines

Mark Coulton
Mark Coulton

An agreement between prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and US president Donald Trump to spare Australia of tariffs involving steel and aluminium will benefit at least two major projects in the central west.

Mine producers at Fifield and Toongi were among those that would have been under the pump had the tariffs gone ahead, and those involved in both projects would have breathed a sigh of relief on Sunday morning

Both leaders confirmed the exemption via social media, ending concerns Member for Dubbo, and new Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Mark Coulton mentioned last week.

Speaking after being sworn in to his new role Mr Coulton said plans by Mr Trump to make it harder for exporters to send their products into the country needed to be monitored closely.

“We need to be keeping a very close eye on this for a couple of reasons,” Mr Coulton said.

“With the steel and aluminium, that will certainly effect the confidence of some of the proposals in my electorate.

“The mine that is down near Fifield produces a mineral that is mixed with aluminium to improve the quality of the aluminium, so if aluminium is effected there will be some nervousness there.

‘And the Toongi mine here on the edge of Dubbo, if there is a trade war involving metals there will be some concerns about that.”

But those fears were allayed on Sunday, when both leaders used social media to break news of the agreement.

Mr Turnbull said Australia’s close ties to the United States had played a major role in the exemption.

“The President and I talked about the way in which the trade relationship between Australia and the US is a very fair and reciprocal one,” he said.

“So I was very pleased that the President was able to confirm that he would not have to impose tariffs on Australian steel and aluminium.”

Earlier Mr Trump had used Twitter to announce the deal.

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

The deal came just two days after US trading partners were given a 15-day window to negotiate exemptions to the tariffs.