Published: Sat, March 10, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Trump set to sign tariffs order amid Republican dissent

Trump set to sign tariffs order amid Republican dissent

If trade deficit is seen as a major national problem in the US, the rational solution might be to increase national savings levels like typical surplus countries China, Germany and Japan, increasing research and development (R&D) investments, and constraining Federal Budget deficits. But considering the amount of steel and aluminum in a typical vehicle, prices for cars could go up by hundreds of dollars, analysts warn.

After months of frantic lobbying, diplomatic arm-twisting and heated debates within his own administration, Trump made good on his tariff threat at the White House, surrounded by steelworkers.

"Due to the unique nature of our relationship with Canada and Mexico ... we're gonna hold off the tariff for those two countries", Trump said during a signing ceremony. So far, the Trump administration has loosely tied the exemptions to negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement and said a failure to renegotiate it could end the special treatment. A provision in a 1962 USA law allows the president to set emergency tariffs as a security issue.

"Strategically, we still really like worldwide and emerging markets, but when you have asymmetric risks, that makes us a little cautious on non-U.S. assets for now", given that markets have not yet priced in the possibility of more protectionist policies, he said.

"Tariffs limit access to necessary specialty products, raise the cost of motor vehicles to consumers, and impair the industry's ability to compete in the global marketplace". China accounts for a small fraction of USA steel imports, but its huge industrial expansion has helped create a global glut of steel that has driven down prices.

In fact, the legal precept used for the tariffs to go around World Trade Organization (WTO) rules was produced with reference to an alleged national security threat posed by the foreign production of USA steel and aluminum needs.

The British government said tariffs "are not the right way to address the global problem of overcapacity" and said it would work with European Union partners to "consider the scope for exemptions outlined".

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NPR's Philip Reeve tells Morning Edition that Brazil is gravely concerned about the US tariffs, saying they will hurt trade relations and that the South American country has not ruled out sourcing its coal from elsewhere.

"We're going to be very fair and very flexible, but we're going to be protecting the American worker", the president said.

"We are committed to working with the Administration to find a long-term solution within the new framework that supports jobs in the USA auto industry and across the supply chain".

"If Donald Trump puts in place the measures this evening, we have a whole arsenal at our disposal with which to respond", European Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said. But the Trump administration has turned into a more defensive and orthodox form of protectionism whereby specific countries and sectors are openly blamed as the sources of USA trade deficit. But he also said the penalties could "go up or down" depending on the country. But Trump said other American allies can get exemptions later, in exchange for something in return.

Fund managers from Oppenheimer, Federated, and Wells Fargo are among those that now see global and emerging market equities as more attractive than the USA, where the prospect of higher interest rates contributed to a slump in stocks in February, leaving the benchmark S&P 500 stock index up about 2.0 percent for the year-to-date, after turning in a 7.0 percent gain in January.

"Already, more than 500 people are headed back to work in Granite City, as U.S. Steel announced it will restart a blast furnace there".

"A skilled, trained workforce in steel is a crucial element of America's national security and must be protected", Trump said.

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