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Donald Trump's Empty Words on Trade
11 March 2018, 01:39 | Myrtle Vega
Fears of a trade war after Trump imposes new steel tariffs
Colorado's congressional delegation includes some of the prominent Republicans pushing back on President Trump's announcement Thursday afternoon to place a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent on aluminum imports. The impacts could be many and varied.
The exemptions for Canada and Mexico could be ended if talks to renegotiate NAFTA stall. China is the world's biggest steelmaker, and has been seen largely as the target of these tariffs, even though Chinese steel accounts for but a fraction of US imports.
Trumpsaid the "aggressive" foreign trade amounted to an "assault" on the USA, but that he would also show flexibility with friendly countries, possibly removing tariffs for some.
More than 100 House GOP lawmakers sent a letter to the president Wednesday urging him to "reconsider the idea of broad tariffs to avoid unintended negative consequences to the US economy and its workers".
Germany's exports to the United States - its largest trading partner - outweighed imports by 50.5 billion euros ($62.2 billion) across 2017 and 3.5 billion euros in January this year, figures released by federal statistics authority Destatis showed Friday.
Trump said the "unfair" foreign trade practices were not merely an "economic disaster" but a "security disaster" and by signing the two proclamations he was defending America's national security. Business groups have warned that the impact could be felt across the supply chain as consumers face higher prices for automobiles, appliances and other consumer goods. Even industries that Trump says he is trying to protect are seeing strong growth.
In a tweet, Trump has said the USA will be flexible and cooperative with those nations who are "real friends".
The association called on the government to take firm counter-measures against imports from the USA, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
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"Many of the countries that treat us the worst on trade and on the military are our allies, as they call them", he complained. "We can not allow this to happen as it has for many years!"
If tariffs are waived or lowered for some countries, they will have to be adjusted upward for other countries, according to the administration official.
Mr Trump said the tariff hikes ordered on Thursday were needed to protect United States national security by ensuring the survival of the country's metals producers. The massive amount of steel China "dumps" on the global market depresses prices in the USA despite the lack of direct imports, according to administration officials.
Outgoing White House chief economic adviser Gary Cohn listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House, Thursday, March 8, 2018, in Washington.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who represents a Midwestern industrial state, which was key to Trump's Electoral College victory in 2016, said a broad tariff plan would be self-destructive.
Some comfort from Berlin comes from the fact that destinations for its exports are "very diversified" around Europe and further afield, Brzeski said.
In a statement in response to the exemption, Mexico's Economy Secretariat said that Mexico recognizes the problem of global steel oversupply, adding that "the negotiation process for the modernization of NAFTA is running its normal course".
There was some bipartisan concurrence on the idea of focusing any tariff plan on China rather than more broadly.
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