For Manufacturers, the Devil is in the Details on Steel, Aluminum Tariffs

A worker manipulates coils of steel at Xiwang Special Steel in Zouping County in eastern China’s Shandong province

The Trump administration wants to reduce the US trade deficit and to boost aluminum production, now below 50% of capacity, to above 80% and to boost steel production to a similar level from about 70% of capacity utilization today.

The article noted that some Trump administration officials have objected to the visa restrictions, which could affect Chinese students in the USA, particularly those in graduate science and technology programs, and it is unclear if they will be included in the final package.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, said earlier this month that the US may lose up to 150,000 jobs if trade partners including Europe and others such as Japan retaliate against Trump's tariffs. As expected, the president is imposing, as from 23 March 2018, an additional 25% duty on steel, and an additional 10% duty on aluminum, imported from all countries except Canada and Mexico.

The newly ascendant Navarro emerged triumphant last week when former top economic aid Gary Cohn resigned following a bruising internal battle over whether to impose the steel and aluminium tariffs.

During the meeting, which hasn't been previously been reported, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer presented Trump with a package of tariffs that would target the equivalent of $30 billion a year in Chinese imports.

"A tariff is a tax, plain and simple", said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the NRF.

The US trade deficit with China ran to a record $375 billion past year but US exports to the country were also at a record. "A trade war will be catastrophic for China, the U.S. and the rest of the world". Meanwhile, one United States study has estimated that the tariffs will bring back around 33,500 jobs in steel and aluminium, but ultimately result in a net loss of 146,000 jobs across the whole U.S. economy.

US Secretary Of State Visits Nigeria, Today
His entourage said he had been forced to cut short the African tour on Monday to return to deal with urgent work in Washington. Tillerson plans to spend another day in Nairobi before heading to Chad and Nigeria on Monday and Tuesday.

Instead of threatening a trade war, Tusk called on Trump to resume U.S. -EU talks which began under former President Barack Obama but were never finished.

Some fear the tariffs could spark a broader trade war.

And recent reporting makes clear that he is throwing all caution - whatever amount of it he had left - to the wind and indulging his most protectionist instincts on trade with his old campaign bogeyman, China.

In an interview with CNBC just before the market close, Kudlow said he believed tougher trade measures against China were warranted.

Malmstrom also objected to Trump's claim that the tariffs are needed to protect national security since most European Union nations are allied with the United States in the defense and security North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance. A source told Reuters that the tariffs could come "in the very near future" and could include up to 100 products, also outside of the tech sector.

The EU says in place of tariffs, the USA should try to reduce a surplus of steel and aluminum on global markets, which experts says is primarily due to China's overproduction in recent years.

No final decisions about retaliation have yet been made, according to a White House spokeswoman.

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