Global News

US' Stiff Tariffs on Steel Imports

US' Stiff Tariffs on Steel Imports

Washington is targeting Chinese high technology companies to punish them for China's investment policies that effectively force US companies to give up their technology secrets in exchange for being allowed to operate in the country along with other allegations of intellectual property theft.

Trump on March 8 slapped tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum, but immediately excluded Canada and Mexico - so long as they reach a new North American Free Trade agreement that passes muster - and said other nations could petition for an exclusion. This move not only alarmed financial markets in the short term, but may leave more lasting damage by upending the tradition of well-choreographed conversations on trade that have characterised US-Europe relations for the past decade.

Oklahoma farmer and rancher Jimmy Wayne Kinder said the tariffs will increase the price of equipment, and will impact Oklahoma wheat farmers - 50 percent of the state's crop is exported.

THE government is elated Australia has escaped a direct hit from Donald Trump's trade disruption strategy. Why should the economic well-being of a few come at the expense of the many?

Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra said the tariffs are "a bad idea".

That's because far from being broadly dispersed, steel consumers are heavily concentrated in the construction and automotive industries - which have very powerful political lobbies of their own.

The news website Politico earlier reported that the Office of the US Trade Representative had presented Trump with a package of US$30 billion in tariffs last week, but Trump told aides that this wasn't high enough.

The move drew consternation outside the U.S.

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While there will be initially "higher import prices and substitution toward higher domestic prices", that will be followed by disinflationary effects when tariffs diminish demand, said Derek Holt, an economist at Scotiabank in Toronto.




China's metals industry issued the country's most explicit threat yet in the row, urging on Friday for the government to retaliate by targeting U.S. coal - a sector that is central to Mr Trump's political base and his election pledge to restore American industries and blue-collar jobs. "It is bad for European citizens, for Dutch citizens and it will turn out bad for US citizens as well". "FAIR!" he said in a tweet published on Saturday.

"We are ready for a trade war", said Enggartiasto Lukito, the trade minister.

"In some places, trade has been blamed for the pains of globalization, others use it as a scapegoat and insist that we can hide behind walls and borders", EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said at a conference in Brussels on Monday.

"Cherry-picking particular tariffs in one category, like looking just at auto tariffs on both sides, misses the whole picture, while not taking into account lower levels on other products does not give an accurate picture of tariffs in general", a Commission spokesman said.

What happens to global growth if there's a trade war?

US automakers are among the businesses with the most at stake, accounting for 38 percent of the aluminum and 15 percent of the steel consumed in the country, according to Ward's Automotive Reports. To put that into perspective, that's about $470 billion - roughly the size of Thailand's output. Tariffs specifically targeting China's technology sector could cause trade war tensions to boil over. "But we are kind of collateral damage".

Typically, it takes years for the WTO to rule on whether the retaliatory measures are justified, so it is possible that Canada, the European Union and other jurisdictions that feel unjustly injured could simply enact the tariffs and duties now and take their chances that the USA drops its tariffs before it ever gets to the WTO for a ruling.

He said "This week, I will travel across Canada to meet with the workers and businesses at the heart of our country's world-class steel and aluminum industries". "So, the economy is set to accelerate and no one will be able to tell how much more it could have grown without the tariffs".


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