(Reuters) – Several top U.S. steel and aluminum executives have been invited to the White House on Thursday for what could be a major trade announcement, according to two people familiar with the meeting.
U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to take steps to crack down on imports of steel and aluminum and has been considering imposing hefty tariffs on imports of the metals from China and other countries.
The White House declined to comment.
The possible announcement comes as top aides to Trump are due to meet Thursday with a senior envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping at the White House.
Chinese economic adviser Liu He and his delegation will meet with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and White House economic adviser Gary Cohn.
The U.S. Commerce Department on Feb. 16 recommended that Trump impose stiff curbs on steel imports from China and other countries and offered the president several options ranging from global and country-specific tariffs to broad import quotas.
A blanket tariff on steel would cover every steel and aluminum product entering the American market from China.
A source close to the White House said Trump had expressed interest in imposing a tariff on steel imports of at least 24 percent.
Trump has until April 11 to announce his decision on steel import curbs and until April 20 to decide on aluminum restrictions.
Mexico’s Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo met U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Lighthizer during a hastily-arranged visit to Washington on Wednesday over concerns about possible U.S. tariffs on steel imports.
Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; editing by Richard Pullin