Monday, 15 October, 2018

The Real Reason for Trump's Steel and Aluminum Tariffs

Donald Trump "Alright Xi let's take a walk... i have something to say to you
Lindsey Cook | 16 March, 2018, 02:08

While complaints about China's abuse of intellectual property rights are not confined to the United States, Trump's global steel and aluminum tariffs announced last week under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 complicate US efforts to recruit allies to put pressure on China. Putting a value on the intellectual property that Chinese individuals have reportedly siphoned from USA companies has been particularly vexing.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, said earlier this month that the USA may lose up to 150,000 jobs if trade partners including Europe and others such as Japan retaliate against Trump's tariffs. "Second, we will consider taking this case to the WTO in cooperation with key countries". We're asking our readers what role - if any - tariffs should play in today's global trade.

"His proposal to impose tariffs on European steel and aluminum is a bad sign for transatlantic relations".

President Donald Trump has announced tariffs on imported steel at 25% and aluminum imports at 10% that go into effect after March 23. "At the end of the day, the tariff will hit consumers where it matters most, their wallets", says Freedonia analyst Kyle Peters.

China accounts for almost half of the USA trade deficit and Trump has been strongly urging China to correct its trade imbalance with the US.

Mr Trump sacked his top diplomat Rex Tillerson and named current Central Intelligence Agency chief Mike Pompeo to succeed him, a worry to Wall Street analysts who viewed Mr Tillerson as a fan of free markets and who fear Mr Pompeo may take a harsher line on trade issues.

In August, the president directed Lighthizer to investigate whether China's intellectual-property policies discriminated against USA companies.

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"As soon as next week" is when officials indicated the $60 billion tariff package could be rolled out, but the "Treasury, State and Justice Departments have all insisted on a thorough review of the investment restrictions to avoid a repeat of the fallout from Trump's original travel ban, which was knocked down by USA courts", according to one official.

The 28-nation European Union is seeking an exemption from the USA tariffs on imported steel and aluminum that could kick in next week, and is preparing potential countermeasures against US goods.

He stressed that China does not want to begin a trade war and will not unleash one on the U.S.; however, Beijing will do everything to protect Chinese national interests.

"Significant damage in South Korea's steel exports to the United States seems unavoidable", the country's trade minister, Paik Un-gyu, said in a statement.

The US attempt to unleash a trade war on China creates a risky precedent which could undermine the very principle of free trade, Huang Weiping, professor at the People's University of China, warns. "It will be very surprising if there isn't some measured retaliation over time from major trading partners".

The United States yesterday launched a trade dispute with India at the World Trade Organization over export subsidies. As with many of Trump's economic ideas, the tariffs were driven by the misguided notion that all worldwide trade is a zero-sum game, wherein any benefit derived by a foreign partner must by its very nature have come at America's expense.

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