Mar 2, 2018

Trade wars: The effect of Trump's tariffs

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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?

Business
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

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 5,383,582 — Total deaths: 344,077 — Total recoveries — 2,158,031Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 1,640,972 — Total deaths: 97,679 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,195Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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