Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Key Insights About Donald Trump Administration's Extraordinary Tariffs

Reuters                       Prime Minister Justin Trudeau chats with U.S. President Donald Trump at the G20 meeting in Hamburg Germany Reuters Prime Minister Justin Trudeau chats with U.S. President Donald Trump at the G20 meeting in Hamburg Germany
Russell Knight | 13 March, 2018, 05:05

The war of words over trade if not the trade war itself continues unabated this week with warnings from President Donald Trump's Republican allies in Congress about the potential for adverse economic fallout from the sudden imposition of tariffs and taxes by the U.S. Tasks that used to take 10 hours for steel workers in the '80s can now be completed in two, allowing plants to produce more goods with fewer people, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute, a trade group in the District of Columbia. "NAFTA, which is under renegotiation right now, has been a bad deal for U.S.A.", Trump wrote in a pair of tweets on Monday. Massive relocation of companies & jobs.

Trump suggested a 25 percent tariff on United States imports on steel and 10 percent on aluminium.

According to the United States's own figures, that country actually has a trade surplus of $12.5-billion with Canada, meaning the USA sells more goods and services to Canada than it buys.

"Canada has to stay very stern and strong, (and) say look, you've got your NAFTA negotiations, this is about tariffs on steel". "I think it's going to be a big positive for those who make steel and aluminum in the United States".

Others pointed to the US violation of World Trade Organization rules.

When we hear about President Donald Trump's latest overnight tweets on trade, the first reaction of most Canadians is to think about how it's going to affect us.

Sources with knowledge of the talks said there had been little progress made in this round on these sticking points.

America's trade deficit is the gap between how much in goods and services it imports from foreign countries, and how much it exports. By increasing costs for raw materials, those tariffs would also undercut the competitiveness of a broad swath of US businesses, ironically making them more vulnerable to foreign competition.

If domestic manufacturers are left to gradually fade out of the game due to cost reasons, and somehow the U.S. can not purchase these materials from overseas, the American economy may be paralyzed. He isn't the first president to try this.

A new economic analysis of President Trump's proposed trade tariffs on steel and aluminum appears to paint a grim picture of the consequences - some 146,000 jobs lost, according to a recent analysis.

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There seems to be so much the president has not been made aware of, including the idea that introducing steel tariffs as a new threat after seven rounds of intense NAFTA bargaining is no way to increase trust with people who, until recently, were America's closest trade allies and supporters.

That is just the kind of tit-for-tat reaction that economists warn could spark a trade war at a time when the U.S. and global economies have only recently returned to firmer footing.

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

However, Alberta officials say the government needs to push for all Canadian steel products to be exempt from tariffs.

The executive arm of the European Union reportedly plans to target $3.5 billion of goods imported from the USA, including T-shirts, whisky, motorcycles and ladders, if Trump decides to implement global duties on steel and aluminum.

And GOP congressional leaders suggested they may attempt to prevent the tariffs if the president moves forward. While China produces almost half of the world's steel, the USA only imports roughly two per cent of its steel from the country. Mr. Ross said Mr. Trump had not told him of any exclusions, but left the door open to the possibility.

The White House is barely even trying to make the case that the tariffs will benefit the economy overall.

Pena Nieto also scrapped a planned trip to Washington shortly after Trump took office in January 2017.

"We (BHP) will live and die by what happens with free trade", he said.

Boosting the USA domestic manufacturing sector, partially through an increase in the percentage of US content in autos, has been one of Trump's key sticking points on NAFTA.

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