Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

Views of Trump's trade adviser carry the day at White House

In the tough times Trump goes it alone Views of Trump's trade adviser carry the day at White House
Sherri Watson | 12 March, 2018, 15:19

The demand for steel and steel products is strong, said Nucor CEO John Ferriola, and President Donald Trump's new tariffs will bring workers back into USA factories.

Raimondo added that the Nebraska-based company is already warning customers that prices for its products will go up 5 to 10 percent to cover the cost of the expected tariffs.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said it would be "absurd" for the United Kingdom to be hit by the tariffs adding that it was "the wrong way" to tackle the problem of cheap steel being dumped on the USA market.

President Donald Trump has found an unlikely supporter in his contentious effort to raise tariffs on imported steel - that supporter is Ohio's top ranking Democrat. "It's really an assault on our country", he blasted, announcing the tariffs on the metals used in everything from cars to construction, roads to railways.

In a full-page newspaper advert statement, Mexico's national steel chamber said Trump's exemptions created a risk that countries subjected to the USA tariffs would seek to export first to Mexico, and then north to take advantage of the rule.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said he was optimistic Australia would be exempt from the tariffs. Canada's foreign affairs minister termed the two things "separate issues" while Mexico's economy ministry said "the negotiation of the Nafta should not be subject to conditions outside the process". He suggested in an earlier meeting with his Cabinet that Australia and "other countries" might be spared, a shift that could soften the worldwide blow amid threats of retaliation by trading partners.

Both Germany and France backed the European Union position, with German government spokesman Georg Streiter telling reporters in Berlin that "The exact nature of the (EU) steps will be decided after a close analysis of the American measures", according to Reuters.

Always improvisational, the president exercised his penchant for going it alone in a big way this week: first, by ordering sweeping tariffs opposed by foreign allies and by many in his own party, then hours later delivering the stunning news that he'll meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The role is seen as one of the most challenging in the Trump administration, due in part to the president's mercurial nature and tendency to overstep is own advisers.

"Everything you have for breakfast", Malmstroem said.

Advisers argue that tales of Trump's freelancing are exaggerated and that in many cases - as with tariffs - he is following through on long-stated promises.

Beijing vowed to "firmly defend its legitimate rights and interests". Still, the president's decisions, as well as his proclivity for off-the-cuff announcements, frequently leave aides and allies guessing.

"We are focusing very much on gaining an exemption and that is what all our efforts have been directed to from the Prime Minister to the Trade Minister, all our officials, all our diplomats and that is what I have been doing here in NY".

In one alleged example of haphazard policy-making, a report this week said the president raised the tariff rates for branding purposes, increasing them from the 24 and 7 per cent recommended by the Department of Commerce - because he wanted nice, round numbers. However, stock markets in Asia rallied as traders said the tariffs could have been worse.