Mar 2, 2018 - Economy

Trade wars: The effect of Trump's tariffs

'Trade Wars'

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President Trump announced on Thursday that he's going to impose tariffs on imports of steel (25%) and aluminum (10%). He has long called for these tariffs, saying America is being cheated by foreign competitors and its large trade deficits.

The big picture: Trump's announcement jolted markets, upset allies and led to rebukes from The Wall Street Journal and some congressional Republicans.

Winners and losers

Winners: Domestic steel and aluminum manufacturers avoid getting undercut on prices from abroad.

Losers: Companies that rely on steel and aluminum for production and services will face higher costs. Consumers could pay higher prices. Conservatives and free-traders are losing in their long-term effort to minimize tariffs and other import duties.

What's next: An escalating trade war?


In Washington

Inside the White House

  • From Mike Allen and Swan: Trump has grown to especially hate Kelly’s rigid rules, so he purposely blew off Chief of Staff John Kelly’s process and announced planned tariffs in a haphazard way.
  • Staff can try to impose their views on Trump. But when it comes to trade — the one thing he’s believed consistently for 30 years — they will inevitably fail.
  • Staff to flee? Trump just completely circumvented the interagency process and is executing a policy chief economic advisor Gary Cohn and other free traders think is calamitous.
  • A 24% steel tariff was recommended to Trump, but he increased to 25% because it's a nice round number.
  • Trade is one of Trump's oldest consistent policy issues. In an Oval Office meeting last year, he told advisers: "I want tariffs. Bring me some tariffs!"

International fallout

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