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Trump says trade wars are 'easy to win' as tariff anger spreads

Trump hasn't given the details of his proposed action, including whether any products or countries would be exempted

Bloomberg  |  Washington 

Donald Trump speaks to businessman Steve Witkoff, who lost his son Andrew to a prescription drug overdose, at the White House on Thursday. Photo: AP/PTI
Donald Trump speaks to businessman Steve Witkoff, who lost his son Andrew to a prescription drug overdose, at the White House on Thursday. Photo: AP/PTI

President pushed back against a wave of criticism against tariffs, telling the world that not only are trade wars good, they are easy to win.

is facing anger from manufacturers and trade partners in and Europe after announcing tariffs of 25 per cent on imported and 10 percent on aluminum for “a long period of time.” The formal order is expected to be signed next week.

“When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win,” said in an early morning tweet on Friday.

The aggressive stance has stoked fears of trade retaliation and roiled global markets. The US dollar weakened for a second day against a basket of currencies, while equity markets across the US, Asia and Europe have declined.

hasn’t given the details of his proposed action, including whether any products or countries would be exempted.

The planned tariffs, justified on the basis that cut-price metals imports hurt both American producers and national security, now raise the prospect of tit-for-tat curbs on American exports and higher prices for domestic users.

The official response in China, the world’s largest producer, was muted. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying merely said in Beijing Friday that urges the US to follow trade rules.

Industry insiders were less restrained. The US measures “overturn the trade order,” Wen Xianjun, vice chairman of the Nonferrous Metals Industry Association, said in a statement. “Other countries, including China, will take relevant retaliatory measures.”

Li Xinchuang, the vice chairman of Iron and Association, called the move “stupid.”

US allies, seeing their industries threatened, responded with bafflement and dismay. Some also panned the idea that metals imports pose a threat to national security.

and aluminum imports from Japan, which is an ally, do not affect US national security at all,” Japan’s Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko told reporters in Tokyo Friday. “I would like to convey that to the U.S. when I have an opportunity.”

First Published: Sat, March 03 2018. 02:14 IST
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