Future of Welsh steel industry at risk from USA tariffs

Sheri Evans
March 12, 2018

President Trump on Thursday made good on a promise to impose a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports.

"Once we see that reversed, demand will return, and we definitely will bring our people back and increase our utilization and our employment", he said.

Always improvisational, the president exercised his penchant for going it alone in a big way this week: first, by ordering sweeping tariffs opposed by foreign allies and by many in his own party, then hours later delivering the stunning news that he'll meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump let advisers Cohn and Peter Navarro, who stood on opposite sides of the issue, debate tariffs for weeks, at times contentiously.

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"The idea that jurisdictions where they're now making steel and aluminium, the idea that if they can't ship it to America they'll just sit at home and do nothing, that is negligent attitude", he said. USA steel exports are two percent of global steel trade.

"If we don't make the deal on NAFTA, and if we terminate NAFTA ... we'll start all over again".

Just a few months after he helped drive Trump's landmark tax reform through Congress, Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, expressed astonishment at the president's decision.

Under relatively routine questioning from Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., about her correspondence, Hicks indicated that she could no longer access two accounts: one she used as a member of President Donald Trump's campaign team and the other a personal account, according to four people who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the closed meeting of the Intelligence Committee was supposed to remain private.

Malmstroem hinted that retaliation was still an option if everything else failed: "We will have to protect our industry with rebalancing measures".

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Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of IL said Trump's action was "like dropping a bomb on a flea" and could carry "huge unintended consequences for American manufacturers who depend on imported materials".

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Australian diplomats in Washington were lobbying for Australia to be exempt.

However, as NPR's Anthony Kuhn notes, "Despite China's objections, the tariffs are not likely to do it much damage, since less than 2 percent of China's steel exports go to the U.S".

Trump shocked the American business community, many Republicans and the every American who supports free trade when his trade guru.

"Due to the unique nature of our relationship with Canada and Mexico ... we're gonna hold off the tariff for those two countries", Trump said during a signing ceremony.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will reduce tariffs in countries that together amount to more than 13 per cent of the global economy - a total of $13 trillion in gross domestic product.

"There's negligible-to-nothing effects", he said accusing the MSM of hyping prospects of a trade war.

"We will be giving a very powerful signal", he said at a news conference after giving a joint statement with other trade ministers.

The actual formal documents specifically state that Canada and Mexico are a special case, given the continent's shared commitment to mutual security, an integrated defence industry and the shared fight against dumped steel and that the best way to address U.S. concerns - "at least at this time" - is by continuing discussions.

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