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Trump is facing anger from manufacturers and trade partners in China and Europe after announcing tariffs of 25 per cent on imported steel 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,” Trump 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.
Trump 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.
Industry insiders were less restrained. The US measures “overturn the international trade order,” Wen Xianjun, vice chairman of the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association, said in a statement. “Other countries, including China, will take relevant retaliatory measures.”
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.
“Steel 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.”