China says no to United States trade war, but vows to defend interests

Sergio Conner
March 12, 2018

The bulk of it comes from our friends, Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Brazil and Japan. And that's in the president's decision to impose safeguard tariffs on a flood of foreign steel now being "dumped" into the US market.

But the reaction was swift.

During the campaign, Trump spoke at the Alumisource Factory in Monessen, Pennsylvania, a heavily Democratic region that went from blue to red during the 2016 election as the folks came out and voted for Trump.

My research focuses on the politics of trade and what prompts political leaders to impose restrictions like tariffs.

The move, which fulfills a Trump campaign promise, has been widely criticized by economists who say it is certain to increase costs to United States consumers on items such as automobiles, household appliances and even energy, due to higher costs for pipeline construction.

In the second, he laid out a fearful scenario of Chinese "carrier killer" ballistic missiles and advocated maintaining military strength and regional alliances to defend America against the Chinese threat. Stakes are high for India in Mr. Trump's trade war.

German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries said Trump was putting the world economy in jeopardy.

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The EU said those efforts will continue this week, though no details for further talks have yet been announced. India holds the ninth position in the list of trading partners that run a trade surplus with the US, China, Mexico, and Japan is on top of the list. We think without question that the market was reacting to the proposed tariffs. Raising the prices of imports would allow USA producers to be more competitive in our domestic market and could lead to more employment in the smelting sector.

Still, despite steel's political advantages, tariffs are still a large gamble for Trump.

"We are entering an era where trade war is starting to show its teeth", French Trade Secretary Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne told POLITICO in Brussels.

I talked to people in the metal fabrication industry after Trump's initial announcement, and the response to the tariffs was negative.

Mr Trump also provoked fury by exempting Canada and Mexico and saying other countries could avoid the penalties if they negotiate a deal to address USA national security concerns without giving clarification on what was expected. Swedish manufacturer Electrolux halted its plans to build a $250 million production plant in Tennessee, attributing its decision to Trump's tariff announcement. It appeared Malcolm Turnbull's "100 years of mateship" visit to the U.S. last month paid dividends when Australia was granted a tariff exemption on Saturday morning, joining in the winners' circle Mexico and Canada (with whom Trump is re-negotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement).

Brazil, which after Canada is the biggest steel supplier to the USA market, said it wanted to join the exemption list and Argentina made a similar case. It'll destroy jobs, and it'll destroy the jobs that the president believes he was elected to grow. Where the traditional rules-based trade remedies have been used effectively, aggressive tariff measures on the basis of national security are unnecessary, even unsafe. And to some degree, they're right. Now we're probably going to lose even more. "NAFTA's really been a boon for us". One leg of this "empire of the dollar" was the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates, where gold or the USA dollar could back the value of different countries' money. And if this escalates into a full-scale trade war, we'll be back to the bad old days.

The Commerce Department released reports in mid-February resulting from its Section 232 investigations, with three alternative courses of action each with respect to steel and aluminum imports, all of which would have involved new tariffs and/or quotas on all such imports into the United States.

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