Australian golfer Greg Norman was reportedly among a number of high-profile business leaders from the country who lobbied President Trump for a favorable deal on newly announced tariffs.
Julie Bishop, Australia’s foreign minister, confirmed to The Sydney Morning Herald that Norman wrote to Trump to urge him to exempt the country from a 10 percent tariff on aluminum and 25 percent tariff on steel.
“We’re calling in all contacts at every level. This is a very important matter for Australia, it’s also a very important principle,” she said.
Norman, who is friends with Trump, and other prominent Australian business leaders reportedly reminded the president that the U.S. has a trade surplus with Australia.
Trump on Thursday afternoon signed paperwork to impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, despite warnings from Republicans, Democrats and international leaders that such a move could have unintended consequences.
The tariffs carved out an exemption for Canada and Mexico, and allow other nations to argue for similar exceptions. Trump also mentioned Australia when speaking to reporters at the White House earlier in the day.
“We have a very close relationship with Australia, we have a trade surplus with Australia, great country long term partner we’ll be doing something with them,” he said.
Norman has previously served in a diplomatic role. He told The Washington Post last month that he helped restore the relationship between Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull after Trump lashed out at Turnbull on a phone call shortly after taking office.
“They did get off to a rocky start, but at the end of the day I think President Trump started to understand the depth and the strength of the relationship between the United States and Australia over all these years, 100 years,” Norman told the Post.