Expert Voices

Trump's tariffs opening loopholes in WTO rules

steel worker in mill
A welder at Schuff Steel in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

President Trump is determined to impose tariffs to protect the U.S. steel and aluminum industries from foreign competition. But his administration’s “national security” rationale is unsupported by its own reports and risks opening a dangerous new loophole for the U.S. and other nations to exploit.

Why it matters: The current trading system reflects American priorities — from intellectual property protections to rules that require science-based regulation of food safety — and has served the world well for decades. Short-term benefits for U.S. steel and aluminum firms will be offset by harm to other industries from a less stable trading environment governed by weakened norms.