Thursday, 20 September, 2018

US steel tariffs: European Union prepare for trade war

By David Ljunggren and Lesley Wroughton By David Ljunggren and Lesley Wroughton
Nellie Chapman | 05 March, 2018, 00:44

Winterstein said the 28 countries of the European Union would respond to the tariffs as a single bloc.

Trump announced his administration would impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports as early as next week.

The US imports steel from more than 100 nations and brings in four times more steel from overseas than it exports.

The announcement angered key US allies - Canada, the European Union, Australia, and Mexico - as well as rival China. The nation most affected will be Canada, which sells the USA more steel than any other trading partner (and buys even more than it sells).

Toyota specifically has called out the tariffs as having ominous implications for how much cars cost in dealerships. The tariff is collected by customs officials and goes to the government.

The importance of steel and aluminum in global commerce derives notably from their use in crucial economic sectors such as construction and infrastructure as well as the automobile industry, but also beyond-for instance, aluminum drinks cans.

Safeguard measures, last deployed in 2002 in response to steel import duties set by then US President George W. Bush, would be created to guard against a flood of imports resulting from the US tariffs set to be formally announced next week. Theoretically, that would breathe new life into industries that have been struggling for years. "This will play very well with them, who feel that they have been unfairly hit by cheaper competition from Asia". The new measures are slated to pit steel jobs against other manufacturing jobs. The tariffs would raise the cost of raw materials for automakers like Ford and General Motors, as well as Boeing. "These companies thrive on the exports of their products".

Wang Hejun, head of China's commerce ministry's trade remedy and investigation bureau, said in a statement late Friday the tariffs would "seriously damage multilateral trade mechanisms represented by the World Trade Organization and will surely have huge impact on normal global trade order". "I have spoken a number of times directly with the president on this issue", Trudeau said, "highlighting and reminding him of the close security co-operation we have and highlighting this is not something we want to see".

First and foremost, they care about the negative impact they'll have on their domestic steel and aluminum industries, hurting sales and jobs.

"Make no mistake, this is a tax on American families. there is nothing this country will gain from such a one-sided policy", National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement Thursday. Other outspoken opponents of the tariff was the American Petroleum Institute.

Donald Trump believes that "trade wars are good and easy to win".

"Low tariffs help the whole world organize itself better and helps relieve inequity", he said. Retaliation is expected, with agriculture being an easy target where affected countries can inflict economic wounds in response.

Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission president, told the German press Tuesday that should Trump make good on his protectionist promise, the European Union would slap retaliatory tariffs on goods produced in the home states of top Republican officials - including the bourbon prepared in Mitch McConnell's backyard and Harley-Davidson motorcycles manufactured in Paul Ryan's.

"Because we are such a huge export nation we stand to be among the biggest losers from a global trade war so we have to be the ones trying to pull the elephants together". But China has threatened to be tough in response to steel and aluminum tariffs in the past. "If we head down the road of protectionism, then yes, this will certainly affect the cost of American defense goods and that's a matter of concern", he told CNBC on Friday.

The Trump administration is also investigating intellectual property theft by China. Other nations could also choose to buy planes from Airbus instead of Boeing.

And will Australia be impacted by Trump's tariffs?

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 70.92 points to 24,538.06.

No country will be exempted, the president's trade adviser said Sunday during an interview on CNN.

The Berenberg group's Mickey Levy and Roiana Reid said the "history of worldwide trade policy shows that the nations that impose barriers to trade are hurt the most" and said the Trump administration "would be wise to reconsider and withdraw its proposal".

As of Friday, the president had not indicated which way he was leaning. "We've had to close facilities at the expense of workers and families".