16:00 GMT +312 December 2018
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    President Donald Trump walks across the South Lawn as he arrives at the White House in Washington, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, after traveling from Camp David, Md.

    Trump 'Looking Forward' to Cooperate With 'Real Friends'

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US President Donald Trump said in a Twitter message he was looking forward to a meeting at the White House related to his steel and aluminum tariffs policy.

    "Looking forward to 3:30 p.m. meeting today at the White House. We have to protect & build our Steel and Aluminum Industries while at the same time showing great flexibility and cooperation toward those that are real friends and treat us fairly on both trade and the military," Trump wrote in the Twitter post.

    Trump did not reveal details about the meeting or specify whether he was ready to sign a decree to impose new tariffs. The White House schedule showed no meetings on Trump's schedule beyond 2 p.m. EST [7 p.m. GMT].

    The US President did not say what he meant by "flexibility" with "real friends," but aides stated that the tariffs could well include exemptions for Canada and Mexico, pending the consequence of other trade negotiations.

    The United States will be flexible with Australia on the issue of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports as well as flexible with other countries in good standing on trade or defense, US President Donald Trump said during a cabinet meeting.

    "We have a very close relationship with Australia, we have a trade surplus with Australia, great country, long-term partner," Trump said. "We'll be doing something with them, we'll be doing something with some other countries. We're going to be very flexible."

    READ MORE: Trump's Top Economic Adviser to Resign Over Tariff Rift — Report

    On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump would sign a new policy by the end of the week. She did not name the countries that would be exempted from tariffs but said the president may exclude Canada, Mexico, as well as some other states based on national security factors.

    Trump announced on March 1 he would impose a 25-percent tariff on US imports of steel and a 10-percent tariff on aluminum for an indefinite period of time. Despite criticism from lawmakers and foreign leaders, the US president said he would not back down on his pledges.

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    Tags:
    steel production, aluminum, tariffs, White House, Sarah Sanders, Donald Trump, United States
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