Lighthizer said China had already followed that path with steel and aluminum - products now subject to steep United States tariffs - as well as semiconductors and "now they want to do it in all these areas, many of which will drive the economy".
Germany and France are among the main European Union countries to support the permanent exemption.
The delay will give Trump administration officials more time to work out deals with the European Union and Mexico and Canada to address the U.S. national security concerns the administration cited for imposing the tariffs. A threat of tariffs on an additional US$100 billion worth of goods has yet to be backed up with a formal proposal.
President Donald Trump announced the punitive action against China in late March for what the administration says is rampant theft of USA technology and know-how. Pictured, a worker operates a furnace at a steel plant in Dalian, China.
"The Prime Minister and other ministers have been relentless in our advocacy for Australia and we will continue to ensure that we receive that exemption", she told the ABC on Monday, adding that Australian steel exports helped create USA jobs by being processed on arrival.
Over the weekend, Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and British Prime Minister Theresa May spoke by telephone, and Merkel later issued a statement saying that Europe was "resolved to defend its interests"-this was a signal that they wouldn't be pushed around by Trump".
The DTI issued a statement expressing its disappointment on the matter on Monday, following a teleconference between Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and US Ambassador CJ Mahoney.
In an official statement, the European Commission blasted the Trump administration for delaying implementation of the tariffs. SA's aluminium exports to the USA account for 1.6% of total aluminium imports by the US.
"Overcapacity in the steel and aluminium sectors does not originate in the EU". "That's good news if you work for a carmaker, or work in construction, or buy goods made from steel, which is basically all of us". Picture: AAP Image/Daniel Munoz.
"Frankly, we're disappointed", Ferriola, who also serves as chairman of AISI, said at a press conference before Navarro's remarks. The threat of a trade war adds to a list of risks that are making businesses less willing to invest and create jobs, including the imminent end of European Central Bank stimulus, Britain's planned exit from the bloc and political deadlock in Italy. Canada, Mexico, Brazil, the EU, Australia and Argentina were granted temporary exemptions at that time.
Countries exempted from stiff US tariffs on steel and aluminum will still face tough restrictions, like import quotas, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro reportedly said Tuesday.
The last-minute delay of steel tariffs for the EU, Canada and Mexico reflect an ongoing negotiation tactic by the U.S.
Australia has a $42.7 billion trade relationship with the United States, but imports more than it exports.