Rio Tinto says US tariffs terrible for world trade but no threat to iron ore – by Brad Thompson (Australian Financial Review – March 7, 2018)

One of Rio Tinto’s most senior executives has warned that the last thing the world needs is a trade war sparked by the Trump administration’s protectionism.

Rio Tinto iron ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said the threat by US President Donald Trump to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports raised the prospect of a destabilising trade conflict.

“As a mining company we rely on free flow of trade around the world,” he said. “We don’t get a choice in where the resources are and we need to get those resources to our customers, so anything that impedes that obviously does concern us.”

Mr Salisbury said US steel tariffs would have almost no impact on demand for iron ore from Rio’s mines in Western Australia.

Major customers in China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan export about 160 million tonnes of steel a year with less than 10 million tonnes finding its way to the US. China’s annual production capacity is about 900 million tonnes.

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