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When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore-we win big. It’s easy!
16 US steel stocks market cap up $1B as a result of tariff announcement today. Rest of S&P 500 down $400B. Making Americans Poor Again.
The problem with currency and trade wars is that they are zero-sum or negative-sum games
6.5m people were employed in the US in businesses that use steel and aluminum, compared to just 80,000 working in the steel industry
Tariff Plan Spurs Global Jockeying
Lobbying intensifies as White House says no nation will be exempt from trade policy
BY JACOB M. SCHLESINGER
WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump plans to apply his steel and aluminum tariffs globally and won’t exempt allies such as Canada and Eu- rope, a senior White House official said Friday, an approach that is likely to intensify protests over the move.
The statement that there would be no exceptions to the duties came as Trump aides started to flesh out the president’s broad Thursday announcement, in which he said the U.S. plans to impose tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum. Officials are scrambling to finalize many details ahead of a planned rollout of the full policies next week.
“The president made clear these would be across-theboard tariffs with no exclusions,” the White House official told reporters. “One problem with exclusions is that it’s a slippery slope. Where do you stop?”
Fears of such a broad-based approach drew complaints and counterthreats from the European Commission—which said Friday it had already crafted a detailed retaliation package— and from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who warned of “significant and serious” disruptions to the North American economy.
The White House official said he couldn’t provide other crucial details of the stillemerging policy, such as whether the duties would apply to all steel products, or would exempt semifinished products, as has been the case when broad steel-import limits have been imposed in the past.
By announcing a general policy goal without providing details, Mr. Trump has
touched off an intense internal and external lobbying campaign to define the precise shape of the tariffs before the full proposals are completed.
“I think as much drama as there has been leading up to the official announcement of these tariffs, there will be an equal amount of drama on the other side, as they’re implemented and exceptions are considered,” said Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, a steel-industry group that supported the tariffs.
“One thing I fear is that this becomes the type of process you have all too often in the Washington swamp, of lobbyists coming in” looking for carve-outs, he said.
Indeed, several people familiar with the process suggested that, despite the declarative statements from Mr. Trump and the official conducting the briefing, the contours of the package, including the possibility of exempting certain countries, could still change.
Some officials were less definitive in their public statements about what had already been decided.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross attended a private White House meeting on Thursday that Mr. Trump held with steel and aluminum executives, where he discussed options under consideration. Asked on CNBC Friday whether the tariffs would cover every country, including allies, Mr. Ross replied: “Well, that’s what the president
seemed to announce yesterday.”
Mr. Trump and some aides embraced the controversy the tariff proposal had stirred up. “When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade…trade wars are good, and easy to win,” Mr. Trump tweeted early Friday morning.
“I don’t believe any country in the world is going to retaliate for the simple reason we are the most lucrative and biggest market in the world,” Peter Navarro, a White House trade adviser who pushed hard for the policy, told Fox News.
Governments around the world blasted Mr. Trump’s plans, and issued threats of retaliation.
Promising to “defend European jobs,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said “we must…show that we also take measures.” Mr. Juncker added: “I don’t like to use the word trade war, but I can’t say how this wouldn’t be war-like behavior.”
Europe has already put together a specific package of penalties that would hit a total of $3.5 billion in U.S. exports, a European Commission official said, including Harley-Davidson motorcycles, bourbon and blue jeans.
Roberto Azevêdo, directorgeneral of the World Trade Organization, issued a rare rebuke to a member country, branding the Trump tariffs a cause for concern, and saying “the potential for escalation is real, as we have seen from the initial responses of others.” He added: “A trade war is in no one’s interest.”
In addition to stoking broad concern about the impacts of the tariffs, Mr. Trump has sown uncertainty by giving scant details about a farreaching, complex economic policy.
The only public details that the president provided in his Thursday announcement were the top-line tariff figures, and that they would be imposed “for a long period of time.” As for when the formal policy will be crafted, he said he “will probably have everything completed by next week.”
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders has declined to provide any further details or elaboration. Asked Friday morning if even the main 25% steel and 10% aluminum tariffs were definitive, Ms. Sanders responded: “I wouldn’t expect those to change, but some of the other details need to be finalized.”
One person outside the administration who has discussed the policies extensively with the Trump team said: “Despite the two numbers he threw out, we still have all the same questions we’ve had about the scope, coverage, duration and design.”
One of the most intense fights over the next week will be over whether to exempt Canada, the largest provider of foreign steel—16%—consumed in the U.S., according to the Commerce Department figures.
Even some of the biggest likely beneficiaries of the new tariffs are calling for Canada to be spared, as it was the last time the U.S. imposed broad steel tariffs in 2002.
Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers union said, “Any solution must exempt Canadian production.”
Pittsburgh-based Alcoa Corp., the largest producer of raw aluminum in the U.S., is also seeking an exception for Canada, where it has smelters.
— Andrea Thomas in Berlin contributed to this article.