Trade: Trump weighs steep tariffs on steel
The Trump administration last week declared foreign steel and aluminum a threat to national security, said Ana Swanson in The New York Times, “laying the foundation for President Trump to impose the types of punitive tariffs he has long championed.” The Commerce Department contends that a recent influx of steel and aluminum imports poses a risk to national security by threatening U.S. manufacturers of planes and armored vehicles for the U.S. military. Its wide-ranging recommendations include a sweeping 24 percent tariff on all steel imports, or a more targeted 53 percent tariff on steel from 12 countries, including China. By law, Trump has until mid-April to make a decision.
“If President Trump decides to impose steep tariffs on steel, it would be a direct shot at Beijing,” said Julia Horowitz in CNN.com. But the list of countries affected wouldn’t end there; China is “not even in the top 10” steel importers to the U.S. The highest percentage of imported steel—16 percent—actually originates from Canada, followed by Brazil and South Korea. If a broad 24 percent tariff is applied globally, “implications could ripple throughout the entire trading system.” Trade experts say even U.S. allies would likely impose their own tariffs on American goods in retaliation. ■