Tariffs To Create Ripple Across US Economy

Opinion Trump proves Canada is unprepared for new world    
     Mar. 8 2018 6:30

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday officially announced steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, The Hill reported.

"We're going to be very fair, we're going to be very flexible, but we're going to protect the American worker as I said I would do in my campaign", Trump said.

The president said that the country now has a global trade deficit of $800 billion - a statement he has reportedly made more than 50 times since 2015.

The president suggested in the meeting with his Cabinet that Australia and "other countries" might also be spared, a shift that could soften the worldwide blow amid threats of retaliation by trading partners.

The president, who has repeatedly argued that the U.S.is "on the losing side of nearly all trade deals", signed proclamations to formally institute a 25 percent tax on all steel imports and 10 percent levy on all aluminum imports during an afternoon White House event.

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His positive words for Australia came after intense lobbying from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and, according to some reports, Mr Trump's friend and champion Australian golfer Greg Norman.

"If you look at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, where Germany pays one percent and we are paying 4.2% of a much bigger GDP - that's not fair", he said. It also said that it would take the case to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in an attempt to get the tariffs ruled as unlawful. He told Fox News: "As soon as he starts exempting countries, he has to raise the tariff on everybody else" and "As soon as he exempts one country, his phone starts ringing with the heads of state of other countries".

Traders are anxious that the tariffs could bring an end to the economic growth that the U.S. and much of the rest of the world has enjoyed over the last few years and create a tit for tat trade war that could severely damage most major economies.

Acting under a Cold War statute that gives United States presidents the power to impose tariffs on imports if they threaten the country's national security, Mr Trump said the USA would begin applying tariffs on imports from everywhere but Canada and Mexico.

More than 100 House Republicans wrote Trump on Wednesday, asking him to reconsider "the idea of broad tariffs to avoid unintended negative consequences" to the USA economy and workers.

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The concession to Canada and Mexico is seen as a bargaining chip as the two countries engage in talks with the USA to reform the Clinton-era trade deal, the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Since then the White House has scrambled to catch up, Mr. Trump's top economic advisor Gary Cohn - who opposed the move - quit in protest and stock markets sank.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch expressed similar concerns about the proposed tariffs, saying "this is a tax hike on American manufacturers, workers and consumers". That would leave the country without a domestic source of steel needed for essential military projects, say officials, as well as essential infrastructure such as dams and the electricity grid.

Ms Malmstrom warned the Trump administration against considering metal-tariff exemptions for only some European Union countries such as the United Kingdom, which, while long considering that it has a special relationship with the U.S., is behind the bloc on the issue, she said.

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