President Trump said he was willing to carve out exceptions to new steel and aluminum tariffs for “real friends” of the U.S. as he prepared to sign the sweeping levies.

As reported by Financial Times, in a morning tweet Trump said he was looking forward to a ceremony in Washington on Thursday (March 8) afternoon at which he is expected to sign a proclamation imposing tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminum.

He also indicated that he had softened his vow to apply the tariffs to all countries after concerns from Republicans in Congress, U.S. business and his own advisers that the tariffs would hit allies such as Canada, Mexico and the EU more than China, the ostensible target.

“We have to protect and build our steel and aluminum industries while at the same time showing great flexibility and co-operation toward those that are real friends and treat us fairly on both trade and the military,” Trump said.

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