U.S. tariff exemptions to boost Australian exports: industry

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian steel and aluminum manufacturers said on Monday exports to the United States will grow after securing exemptions from tariffs signed into law by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Trump on Friday said Australia would become the third country to be free from a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent for aluminum.

Exporting just over A$400 million ($314.32 million) last year, Australia is a relatively small supplier of steel and aluminum to the United States.

"This is a great outcome for us and... (for) jobs in North America," Mark Vassella Managing Director and CEO of BlueScope Steel - Australia's largest exporter - told reporters in Sydney.

"A win on both sides of the Pacific."

Shares in BlueScope rose more than 3 percent on Monday, outperforming the broader market <.AXJO>, which recorded modest gains.

While it was good news for Australian exporters, producers

fear the U.S. tariffs could hit them indirectly, as exporters that are subject to the tariffs try to find other markets for their steel and aluminum.

Rejecting calls for additional laws to prevent potential dumping, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said existing measures were sufficient.

"There are 77 anti-dumping measures in place, 50 related to steel. Seven are related to aluminum. We want to ensure a level playing field. We are passionately committed to free trade, but it must be fair," said Turnbull.

Turnbull also said Australia would not join an international protest against the U.S. tariffs.

South Korea's trade ministry said last week it will take a dispute to the World Trade Organization against the United States for imposing high anti-dumping duties on South Korean steel and transformers.

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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