Trump's massive tariff announcement is twisting the political world in knots

Remigio Civitarese
Marzo 14, 2018

The announcement left open the possibility that the process for implementing the penalties is still open to negotiation.

The tariffs are scheduled to go into effect in two weeks.

Not only is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau going to be in Regina on Thursday, but he will be back on the 14th as well.

"What we're hoping is that the Canadian government will find a long-term solution..."

Trump kept Canada and Mexico as potential tariff targets because that served US interests in winning concessions in ongoing NAFTA negotiations. The report acknowledges that "p$3 rior significant actions to address steel imports (quotas and/or tariffs) were taken under various statutory authorities by President George W. Bush, President William J. Clinton (three times), President George H.W. Bush, President Ronald W. Reagan (three times), President James E. Carter (twice), and President Richard M. Nixon".

"I'm concerned that after everything we've done to help our constituents through tax reform, the tariffs the president recently announced are going to undermine some of these recent gains", said Rep. Kevin Yoder, Kansas Republican. "I've got to applaud President Trump". On Thursday, China's foreign minister, Wang Yi, vowed a "justified and necessary response" to any efforts to incite a trade war.

Philip Levy, a former trade adviser in President George W. Bush's administration, said the flaw in Trump basing his tariffs on national security was that military allies could ask to be excluded, undermining the president's stated objective of protecting domestic steel and aluminum mill jobs.

The second mechanism allows domestic companies to request to exclude steel articles "for which the Secretary determines there is a lack of sufficient USA production capacity of comparable products", or for "specific national security-based considerations".

"We're trying to balance protecting these industries, which are very important, with making sure we don't do undue harm to the economy", Mr. Mnuchin said Tuesday.

"We'll be imposing tariffs on steel imports and tariffs on aluminum imports".

President Trump's negotiating tactics often show him throwing out an idea, watching his critics set their hair on fire, and then finding common ground with a less severe approach.

Trump had originally said that the tariffs would be applied equally, with no exceptions for allies.

In a statement immediately following Mr Trump's formal proclamation of the tariffs, Mr Ryan said he would "continue to urge the administration to narrow this policy so that it is focused only on those countries and practices that violate trade law". And that includes - I mean that includes a lot of territory. The agreement was negotiated by Democratic President Barack Obama's administration, but had broad support from GOP leaders who have long backed multilateral free trade pacts.

The trade measures announced by President Trump have led to strong reactions across Europe.

Republican Senator Jeff Flake has already introduced legislation to nullify the tariffs.

Malmstrom told reporters the European Union was ready to complain to the World Trade Organization and retaliate within 90 days.

"Congress can not be complicit as the administration courts economic disaster", the Arizona senator added. Republican voters already trust Trump more than they trust congressional Republicans.

Technically, Trump wouldn't have to remove the tariffs if the WTO declared them illegal.

"Exempting Canada and Mexico is a good first step, and I urge the White House to go further to narrow these tariffs so they hit the intended targets - and not USA workers, businesses, and families", House Ways and Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, who is a Republican, said in a statement.

Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat running for governor of New Mexico, called the tariff hike "short-sighted" and could result in economic pain for New Mexico farmers. Flake of Arizona said he wants quick action on his proposal "before this exercise in protectionism inflicts any more damage on the economy".

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