Barry Soper: Donald Trump's trade war will make America grate again

  • Barry Soper: Donald Trump's trade war will make America grate again

Barry Soper: Donald Trump's trade war will make America grate again

Coming on the same day that 11 U.S. allies - but not the USA - sign a landmark Asia-Pacific trade agreement, the move on tariffs only underscores Trump's embrace of the protectionist policies he believes helped him win the presidency.

President Donald Trump signed a new law Thursday evening that places a 25 percent tariff increase on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff increase on aluminum imports.

The EU's trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said the bloc should be excluded from the measures and she would meet United States trade representative Robert Lighthizer to discuss the situation on Saturday.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said the bloc was "not preparing for battle" but had to be ready to protect its industry.

He told a boisterous crowd that if Europe did not lower trade barriers to United States imports, "we're gonna tax Mercedes-Benz, we're gonna tax BMW".

"Whereas we share the concerns over overcapacity in the steel sector, this is not the right way to deal with it", Malmstrom said.

Describing the dumping of steel and aluminum in the USA market as "an assault on our country", Trump said in a White House announcement that the best outcome would for companies to move their mills and smelters to the United States.

He said Lighthizer did not give a specific answer to the request but explained the timeline and procedures for the tariffs.

The US is the largest steel importer in the world and the order could hit South Korea, China, Japan, Germany, Turkey and Brazil the hardest. They are concerned about the possible impact of retaliation against US products. Trump on Thursday declared the American steel and aluminum industries had been "ravaged by aggressive foreign trade practices" as he signed off on contentious trade tariffs. Seko also said these exports had made key contributions to USA industries and jobs, the statement said without elaborating.

The EU exports around five billion euros ($4 billion) worth of steel and a billion euros worth of aluminum to the USA each year, and the European Commission, the bloc's executive arm, estimates Trump's tariffs could cost some 2.8 billion euros. We want to build our planes.

Lighthizer, a loyalist to Trump's "America First" mantra, made no official comment after the talks, but the three sides did agree on a series of next steps to address the oversupply worldwide of steel and other materials, mainly by China.

Asian stock markets rose in early trading on relief that Trump's measures were not more severe.

"NATO related issues and trade are completely separate issues", European Commission official Jyrki Katainen told reporters.

Canada's foreign affairs minister termed the two things "separate issues" while Mexico's economy ministry said "the negotiation of the NAFTA should not be subject to conditions outside the process".

Ross also disputed a favorite talking point of tariff opponents, who compare Trump's actions to the Smoot-Hawley tariff, which Congress passed in 1930.

The tariff plan has angered USA allies, including Canada, Mexico, Britain and members of the European Union, who argue that their exports to the United States do not pose a threat to U.S. national security.

It has already started monitoring incoming metal flows to see whether a surge occurs.

The US leader had also added Australia to a list of likely carve-outs, as a "great country" and "long-term partner".

Mr Trump's sudden push for the tariffs last week triggered fears of a global trade war and rattled financial markets.

European steel and aluminum associations have warned that the USA tariffs could cost their sectors thousands of jobs.