Acting Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has had his first official meeting with new US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, by phone this morning.

It is the first contact the pair have had since Pompeo took over from Rex Tillerson, who was fired by President Donald Trump in March this year.

The phone call lasted about 15 minutes.

Among the subjects to have been discussed were the 25 per cent tariffs imposed on exports of steel to the United States and 10 per cent on aluminium, on so-called national security grounds.

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China, Japan and Europe are hardest hit by volume but the tariffs also affect New Zealand industry.

Peters is also understood to have welcomed Trump's decision last week to rescind the policy of separating children at the southern border from non-documented arrivals.

The pair are expected to meet at a regional forum in Asia in August.

Pompeo visited New Zealand in April last year for an intelligence conference in Queenstown in his former capacity as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Before taking up that job he was a Republican member of the House of Representatives, representing Kansas.

Pompeo was instrumental in setting up the summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

New Zealand manufactures steel at Glenbrook, south of Auckland, and aluminium at Tiwai near Invercargill.

According to Trade Minister David Parker, iron and steel exports to the US last year were worth $39 million out of a global total of $433m, and aluminium exports to the US were worth $23m out of a total of $1.1 billion.

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