UCF Global Perspectives


Trump Proposes Steel and Aluminum Tariffs

Nathaniel Yerby, Lawrence J. Chastang Global Fellow

March 8, 2018

On Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to sign an order imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, further weakening the long-standing international free trade system. Trump announced the tariffs last week, promising to levy a 25% rate on imported steel and a 10% rate on imported aluminum. The Commerce Department recommended the protectionist measures to bolster the US metal industry, prompting several American steel and aluminum companies to praise the tariff proposals (NPR). Yet on Wednesday, 107 Republican members of Congress signed a letter which condemned the tariffs as “new taxes” that will increase prices for American consumers (CNBC).

World leaders criticized the administration’s protectionism as well, as the Japanese and South Korean governments lobby to have their metal industries exempted from the tariffs (Washington Post). The European Commissioner for Trade threatened on Wednesday to impose retaliatory tariffs on American peanut butter and orange juice (Guardian). As the European Commission joined the Chinese government in admonishing the US administration for inciting a trade war, Trump promised “flexibility” for America’s “real friends.” Administration officials announced on Thursday that Trump would grant temporary exemptions to NAFTA-partners Canada and Mexico (Reuters).






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