Standing Up to Trump on Steel/Aluminum Tariffs

Lynette PayneMar 07, 2018

Speaking at the White House Monday afternoon during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Donald Trump said he isn't backing down on issuing tariffs for imported steel and aluminum.

Trump spoke shortly after a spokeswoman for House Speaker Ryan said the GOP leader was "extremely worried" about the tariffs setting off a trade war and had urged the White House "to not advance with this plan".

"The new tax reform law has boosted the economy and we certainly don't want to jeopardise those gains".

The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, has compiled a list of goods on which to impose retaliatory tariffs, including American motorcycles and bourbon.

Portman, a director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush, also said he thought Trump should "use more of a scalpel approach" than his current approach, adding that he has spoken with some White House officials but not the president himself.

The news conference also provided Trump an opportunity to weigh in on upcoming talks between North and South Korea, which were announced Tuesday.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn asked: "Does the prime minister still think a good trade deal can easily be reached with the Trump presidency after their unilateral imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, which follows their disgraceful attack on Bombardier?" Moreover, the costs for the USA and the world far outweigh the benefits that can be had from them.

While lawmakers focus their public remarks on encouraging Trump to narrow the scope of the tariffs, they are also open to exerting Congress's authority to block them if need be.

The tariffs proposed would primarily hit longtime USA allies Canada, Britain, Germany, South Korea, and Japan.

Administration officials say the effect of the higher steel and aluminum costs on American products will be trivial because the materials make up only a small fraction of the cost of products such as cars and beer.

The European Union has said it is drawing up measures against leading U.S. brands like Harley-Davidson and Levi's jeans.

At a separate hearing, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin indicated the tariffs would not apply to Canada, indicating the ongoing debate within the Trump Administration on the final details.

Most responses to Mr Trump's proposed tariffs have been targeted.

The Aluminum Association says it represents 114 member companies and more than 700,000 U.S.jobs.

Malmstrom said the European Union would wait for the final decision, but added: "We are of course preparing". The highly integrated nature of the two economies will make these hard, but necessary, to identify.

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