European Union steel producers fear job losses over United States of America tariffs

Remigio Civitarese
Marzo 15, 2018

The last time a president slapped tariffs on steel offers an illuminating lesson - and cautionary tale - for Trump's new policy. Trump really, really wants to stick it to China!

WASHINGTON - The Trump administration has chosen an odd time to offer special protection to the US steel industry. If other countries follow through on their rhetoric, USA exporters may face restrictions on their market access overseas. On a similar note, China showed its determination to lead the counteraction of WTO members affected by the new US tariff policy. The worldwide pushback was perhaps best captured by prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau when he told Nixon that it was impossible for Canadian businesses to purchase USA goods if they can't sell their own products in the American marketplace.

Unless the European Union removes its "horrific barriers & tariffs" on USA products, Trump said in a tweet, the United States will "Tax Cars, etc".

Golly, a whole One Billion Dollars!

Bown also points out that, although China is the main target of Trump's tariffs, the amount of steel and aluminum it exports to the U.S.is small, compared with Canada, South Korea, the EU, Mexico and others.

The Commission refuses to negotiate over the issue, believing that Trump's tariffs are an attack on global trade rules and principles.

Other trade partners, including Japan and China, have also voiced anger and pledged retaliation if the U.S. tariffs are enacted as expected on March 23. You wouldn't know it, listening to the WTO. For all the internet memes comparing Trump officials to Bond bad guys, the bumbling villains of Austin Powers are the better reference. Note the president referred to China's "massive Trade Deficit with the United States".

The Trump administration is pressing China to cut its trade surplus with the United States by $100 billion, a White House spokeswoman said on Wednesday, clarifying a tweet last week from President Donald Trump. He got the brouhaha he wanted. "I expect that Canada and Mexico will take action to prevent transshipment of steel articles through Canada and Mexico to the United States", he wrote.

Among Trump's first orders of business upon taking office, however, was to pull out of the pact.

Trump may consider himself a great deal maker, but history makes us wary of his contention tariffs will revitalize struggling USA industries.

"We are extremely anxious about the consequences of a trade war and are urging the White House to not advance with this plan", stated his press aide. Stated differently, the US can't harm the Canadian economy without simultaneously shooting itself in the foot.

After it became clear the Chinese constitution would change to allow President Xi Jinping to hold power indefinitely, Trump didn't criticize the authoritarian move. Although the majority of what they use is produced locally - the U.S. steel industry supplied about 70 percent of the domestic market in 2017 - a tax on imports will allow American metal producers to charge more to companies like Boeing, General Motors and Whirlpool. But the comments letting Xi off the hook, in fact praising Xi for consolidating power, were far more consequential.

"The Proclamation on aluminum imports imposes a 10 percent tariff on products covered in specified HTS subheadings: "(a) unwrought aluminum (HTS 7601); (b) aluminum bars, rods, and profiles (HTS 7604); (c) aluminum wire (HTS 7605); (d) aluminum plate, sheet, strip, and foil (flat rolled products) (HTS 7606 and 7607); (e) aluminum tubes and pipes and tube and pipe fitting (HTS 7608 and 7609); and (f) aluminum castings and forgings (HTS 7616.99.51.60 and 7616.99.51.70)".

Xi has charmed the trousers off Trump, who appears envious of the Chinese government's military parades, press controls and disregard for human rights. Increasingly, it's a style of political leadership.

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