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Trump Signs Off on Steel and Aluminum Tariffs, Exempts Canada and Mexico

Trump Signs Off on Steel and Aluminum Tariffs, Exempts Canada and Mexico

“We just want fairness.”

President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum at a press conference at the White House today, but decided to exempt Canada and Mexico during NAFTA negotiations.

Flanked by aluminum and steel workers, Trump signed two proclamations: a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminum imports. These tariffs go into effect in 15 days.

He chose to exempt Mexico and Canada as we continue our NAFTA negotiations with those leaders.

Trump also said he would remain very flexible on tariffs. He noted Australia “as an example of a country whose trade and security relationship with the U.S. may earn an exemption from the punishing tariffs.”

Trump declared that he has the right the raise or lower the tariffs as he sees fit while also owning the right to add or remove countries from the tariffs:

“We have to protect and build our steel and aluminum industries,” Trump said during a signing ceremony at the White House.

“This is not merely an economic disaster, but it’s a security disaster,” Trump said. “We want to build our ships, we want to build our planes, we want to build our military equipment with steel, with aluminum, from our country.”

He stated that America “just wants fairness.”

His speech encouraged foreign producers of steel and aluminum to move to America in order to avoid the tariffs. He reminded them that the GOP’s tax legislation “would also benefit their business if they invested in the U.S.”

The U.S. imports more steel than any other country in the world and four times more than it exports. We “imported five times as much primary aluminum” than we produced in 2016.

Trump did all of this despite the mass criticism he has received from his own party.

Outgoing Arizona Senator Jeff Flake (R) has threatened to put forth a bill that would nullify these tariffs:

“I’m going to — as soon as it comes out if it is anything approximating what he’s talked about — introduce legislation to nullify it. I’m assuming I won’t be the only one to do that,” the frequent Trump critic told reporters Thursday.

Flake, like many Republicans, has expressed deep concerns about Trump’s plans to issue new tariffs on aluminum and steel and says he’s ready to fight legislatively if needed.


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Flake is incredibly ignorant of trade policies, especially of this one. It might behoove him to do some research before he reflexively negates what the President is trying to accomplish. Either that, or just switch parties.

That’s strange … why is he signing it at that ridiculous little table with the oversized Presidential seal hastily tacked to the front?

4th armored div | March 8, 2018 at 5:17 pm

if the Euros intend to wage war on the USA –
we DO need to remind them who OUR military are protecting and at what rate NATO is funded.

you want to wage protectionist war on US ???
the Euros have not had our back at UN either sooooooo……

Don’t like China still being able to manipulate trade through NAFTA

    Mac45 in reply to gonzotx. | March 8, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    That will change when the NAFTA negotiations end, unless Canada and Mexico agree to what the US wants. The Administration is merely honoring the status quo while the negotiations are ongoing.

Well, there’s a few positives about this…

America is about to get an object lesson in how trade and economics work. Good and hard.

Tin-foil hats are going to be less in demand, since the prices are going up.

MAYBE this will embolden Congress to reclaim it’s power from the Strong Man who’s going to decide on his whim how much you’re taxed via the redistributionist corruption of protectionism.

The U.S. military is going to start taking really good care of its gear, since it won’t be replacing as much as they thought last week.

Some workers are going to have a lot more time at home due to losing their jobs.

But there will be a net loss to the U.S. for electing a man who believes…or at least says he believes…that America is “losing 800 billion dollars a year”. We aren’t. We WERE wealthier.

But, oh well…

    Mac45 in reply to Ragspierre. | March 8, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    Maybe. Then again, maybe not.

    American “free-traders” never seem to really complain about the tariff schemes and trade impediments that American businesses face abroad. We occasionally hear about Chinese restrictions on American imports and their theft of intellectual property. But, then American businesses cave and do business with China anyway. On top of that, the last administration seemed reluctant to take any actual action against China. Both the steel and. especially, the aluminum tariffs are aimed directly at the Chinese, who have been funneling steel and aluminum into the US market through both Canada and Mexico.

    This action is not going to reduce American manufacturing jobs. In fact, it will probably increase them. The real threat to manufacturing jobs is automation. It will be interesting to see how we handle that over the next 10-29 years.

      Ragspierre in reply to Mac45. | March 8, 2018 at 9:01 pm

      Not that it will do any more good than trying to explain the law of torts to my Golden Retriever, but…

      **American “free-traders” never seem to really complain about the tariff schemes and trade impediments that American businesses face abroad.**

      Whatever you “seem” to get is immaterial. Plus, people who understand economics understand the LAW of Comparitive Advantage. This is too hard for you, so start from Economics 101, and understand market exchanges first.

      “We occasionally hear about Chinese restrictions on American imports and their theft of intellectual property. But, then American businesses cave and do business with China anyway.”

      American businesses are MUCH smarter than you. Ergo, they do NOT send the Chinese current technologies. As a for instance, one Houston law firm with business dealings in China sends its partners there with lap-tops cleaned of everything INCLUDING internet access.

      “This action is not going to reduce American manufacturing jobs. In fact, it will probably increase them.”

      This is insane. Look up “supply and demand”. What happens when you raise the price of anything?

      “The real threat to manufacturing jobs is automation.”

      Yep. And there are few areas more ripe for automation than making steel and aluminum.

        RedEchos in reply to Ragspierre. | March 9, 2018 at 4:15 am

        I think I will trust Wilbur Ross to know his stuff. Maybe you are right, but I don’t think so.

        Mac45 in reply to Ragspierre. | March 9, 2018 at 12:37 pm

        The Ricardian law of comparative advantage [it is actually a theory] is based upon the premise that two trading partners have something which the other wants, in sufficient quantity, which each is able to produce at a lower cost. And, therefor, country A will buy product X from country B and country B will purchase product Y from country A in sufficient quantity to result in an equitable balance of trade. If taken into a global economy, where you have countries A-M and products N-Z, the circular trade have to be equivalent or, just as in musical chairs, someone ends up with a negative balance of trade and leaves the game.
        Under the current trade conditions in the world, the US has only a few specialized products which it can produce better than other countries. There is not a large enough demand to establish a neutral balance of trade in the world economy. And, Even Ricardo did not envision a trading situation where a given country would have a continual negative balance of trade.

        The Ricardian Law Of Comparative Advantage has been pretty much dismissed by the economic community as being applicable only in some very limited situations.

        The Chines have developed a major industry in pirated entertainment and software. They have been manufacturing products patented outside Chine for years without the permission of the patent holders and without paying any royalties. This is blatant theft of intellectual material. And yet, foreign companies continue to trade with China.

        Ah, supply and demand. In the first place, there will be NO reduction in the supply. The cost of the supply will increase, but it will not dry up. This will increase the price of the item and will reduce the casual demand, not the necessary demand, for the product. However, as more people are employed as product of the product in undertaken in the US, a certain percentage of them will have a casual desire for the product which will likely offset the reduction in the previous customer base. This is why the Japanese auto industry opened assembly plants in the US.

        Automation costs money, initially. So, the steel and aluminum industries will start out using skilled and semi-skilled human labor. As time goes on, automation will replace human workers. It has in every other industry, including farming and now, the service industries [think McDonalds self-serve kiosks]. But, there will be increased employment in the steel and aluminum industries until that happens.

          Ragspierre in reply to Mac45. | March 9, 2018 at 9:25 pm

          I’ve asked where you get the bullshit you post. C’mon! Be a mensch! You didn’t come up with this incredible crap on your own.

          Name the economists who dismiss Ricardo. All of them.

Its funny because you are so determinar to be wring Rags HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

DETERMINED TO BE WRONG! Fucking spell check!!!

all I ever heard growing up through school in the ’60’s and 70’s was that Tariff’s were bad.
I am certain I am not alone.
I am also certain that was completely incorrect.

(Charles Koch, steel producer among many other things)
“Tariffs will only perpetuate the rigged system that threatens the very core of our society. When large companies can pressure politicians to force everyday Americans to fork over unearned millions, we should all question the fairness of the system.”

I recommend my colleague Matt Mitchell’s timeless study on the pathology of privileges. But I have to say, I love this paragraph from George Will’s essay today:

“Protectionism is a scythe that slices through core conservative principles, including opposition to government industrial policy, and to government picking winners and losers, and to crony capitalism elevated to an ethic (“A few Americans first”). Big, bossy government does not get bigger or bossier than when it embraces protectionism — government dictating what goods Americans can choose, and in what quantities, and at what prices.”

Yes, exactly: Protectionism = cronyism = “A few Americans first.”

No matter how many flags you wrap it in, it is still corruption, and it still robs Americans of liberty.

If Americans are competitive why would we need a tariff? If Americans are competing against foreign government subsidized products how can we correct for the subsidy? Is it wrong to require manufacturers to manufacture in the US? Is it possible the US runs enormous deficits because of insufficient jobs? Is trade fair and if so how do we know? So many platitudes and soundbites; so little information.

To quote Yoda, “The job-killing effects of stupid, corrupt trade policy begun they have”.

“Here’s a simple, ‘real-life’ impact of the tariffs,” a friend on the West Coast tells me. His metal-products company serves the aircraft and aerospace industries, among others. “In late January, we bid on a job, but didn’t get the purchase order until the end of February. Now we are ordering the raw material to fabricate the parts, and the price increases have killed our profits.”

He also says that, for the first time in 30 years, a key stainless-steel and aluminum supplier last week stopped guaranteeing product prices for the entire month. “Due to the tariffs/taxes, the market is too volatile,” my friend explains. The supplier instructed customers to phone for prices, which it would honor only until the end of each business day.

You should read the whole thing.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to Ragspierre. | March 9, 2018 at 11:16 am

    More likely is that the business grabs as much additional raw material as he can get at or close to pre tariff prices, then he quotes based on projected post tariff costs, pocketing large profits.

    I own several businesses, one of which manufactures industrial control products. I always make sure that my tail is covered, as do all other successful businesses.

    Mac45 in reply to Ragspierre. | March 9, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    Volatility in a commodities market. Who would have thought that? Now, you would expect a businessman would consider the possibility that the cost of materials might go up if the government was publicly talking about imposing or increasing tariffs on those materials. And, these tariffs were being publicly discussed as early as October of 2017. So, if a businessman submits a bid without taking increased material costs into account, it is his own fault.

    Will prices be in flux for a while after tariffs are imposed? Yep. Will that impact the cost of doing business for a while? Yep. Remember what happened when OPEC curtailed oil sales or when refining facilities are knocked off line? That’s right, the costs of the commodity increase and the price will fluctuate for awhile, until it settles. Also, there is NO way a supplier can guarantee prices a month in advance, unless he has already purchased the materials and has them in his possession. To make a guarantee on a price to his customers on product which he does not have on hand puts him in the same position as the man who puts in a guaranteed bid. Both end up eating any increase in cost of materials. That is business.

    Another thing to consider is that suppliers may not simply be passing increases along to consumers. They may actually be engaged in price gouging. Such things have happened in the past.

Outgoing Arizona Senator Jeff Flake (R), and soon to be democrat campaign operative, disgusted everyone except Nancy Pelosi when Flake performed a solitary sex act upon himself because

“Even if Congress does act, it would likely need 67 votes to override an expected presidential veto in the Senate…”

Reading ragspeepee on trade/business is one and the same as reading the globalist American killers.

EVERY “prediction” they make is 100% wrong, every time.
The American economy is just warming up. Look at the results, not the anti-American bullshit artists doomsday proclamations.

    Ragspierre in reply to Barry. | March 9, 2018 at 10:40 pm

    Butt-hurt Barri is a fan-boi of Bernie Sanders/Dick Trumka Progressive BIG GOVERNMENT.

    I’m for liberty, small government, and being free to chose.

      Barry in reply to Ragspierre. | March 11, 2018 at 12:13 am

      “I’m for liberty, small government, and being free to chose.”

      No, you’re not. You are for other governments screwing the Americans so a few US companies can benefit. You are not for small government, it’s just a slogan you spit out.

      Free to choose? You worked hard to see a Clinton in the White House. So much for freedom.

      The only fan of the progs is you. You’re one of them.

        Ragspierre in reply to Barry. | March 11, 2018 at 8:35 am

        You’re so stupid and literally insane you can’t see what’s true.

        “You are for other governments screwing the Americans so a few US companies can benefit.”

        Which is an insane lie.

        But THIS is true…

        You are for T=rump screwing Americans so a few US companies and unions can benefit.