Do you remember how we praised President Trump for the steel and aluminum tariffs?
We said it was a great news but we wanted to see how it played out at the WTO. President Trump initiated a process which would go through a number of steps before it holds up as policy. It turns out we aren’t going to even have to wait for a WTO ruling to expose this as a political gimmick:
“The White House formally announced late Thursday that six countries and members of the European Union (EU) would be temporarily exempt from President Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
Trump authorized an exemption for Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, South Korea and all 28 EU member countries while the U.S. negotiates long-term plans with foreign leaders from each country and the European body.
Trump will decide by May 1 whether to extend each exemption depending on the status of those talks, the White House said. …
The exemption applies to the top four exporters of steel to the United States – Canada, Brazil, South Korea and Mexico – which collectively account for about 50 percent of the steel imported into the U.S.
Trump announced earlier this month that the U.S. would impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum in a measure that he argued would protect domestic workers and benefit U.S. companies.
The tariffs are set to go into effect on all other nations Friday that send their metals to the United States, including countries such as China, Russia, India and Turkey. …”
We don’t really import much steel directly from China which accounts for 2% to 4% of steel imports. It mostly comes through other countries. China sells raw and semi-finished steel to third party countries where it has value added and then it exported into the United States.
What does these steel and aluminum tariffs amount to when (so far, the list is growing) US allies like Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Brazil and the European Union are granted exemptions? It is just more election year political theater like the travel ban which now applies to countries like Chad, North Korea and Venezuela which don’t produce terrorists.