President Trump is expected to formally sign off on his steel and aluminum tariffs Thursday afternoon at a White House ceremony with steel union workers, reports the Washington Post. However, it appears the White House is giving ground on its initial defiance about exemptions. Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro told the Fox Business Network Wednesday night that Canada and Mexico would be exempted, at least initially, reports the New York Times. Whether they remain exempt would depend how much they bend in the current renegotiation of NAFTA. Earlier Wednesday, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders suggested other nations could be exempt, too—decisions would be made "case by case" and "country by country," she said, per the AP.
Opponents and proponents of the tariffs continued to lobby furiously for their respective positions Wednesday, and that was expected to continue into Thursday, making any predictions about specifics impossible. In fact, it's even possible that the signing ceremony will be pushed back to Friday given the legal logistics involved, reports Reuters. In one of Wednesday's more notable developments, more than 107 House Republicans signed a letter urging Trump to reconsider the tariffs "to avoid unintended negative consequences to the US economy and its workers." Meanwhile, economic adviser Gary Cohn, who is resigning after losing the fight to block the tariffs, spent Wednesday trying to secure exemptions for several countries, reports the Wall Street Journal. The tariffs would go into effect 15 to 30 days after Trump signs off.