Trump to impose steep tariffs on steel, aluminum

Friday, 2018-03-02 10:15:49
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A worker inspects wire rod at TIM stainless steel wire factory in Huamantla, in the Mexican state of Tlaxcala October 11, 2013. (File photo:Reuters)
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President Donald Trump announced on March 1 he would impose hefty tariffs on imported steel and aluminum to protect U.S. producers.

Trump said the duties, 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum, would be formally announced next week, although White House officials later said some details still needed to be ironed out.

Trump believes the tariffs will safeguard American jobs, but many economists say the impact of price increases for users of steel and aluminum, such as the auto and oil industries, will destroy more jobs than curbs on imports create.

"We’re going to build our steel industry back and our aluminum industry back," Trump said.

Shares of U.S. domestic steel and aluminum makers rallied, but shares of companies ranging from auto makers to airplane makers fell on the potential impact of the higher costs they will have to pay for the metals.

The announcement came after what one person with direct knowledge of the discussions described as a night of "chaos" in the White House due to frequent switching of positions in the administration.

The tariffs were sharply criticized by some senior Republican lawmakers as well as industries ranging from autos to oil to construction equipment. A major concern is that U.S. farm exports could be hit hard in retaliation by steel-exporting countries.

"Every time you do this, you get a retaliation. Agriculture is the number one target. I think this is terribly counterproductive for the agriculture economy," said Senator Pat Roberts, who chairs the chamber's agriculture committee.