President Trump on Thursday officially announced steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, defying his own party and delivering on a campaign promise to fight what he sees as unfair practices by U.S. trading partners.
Trump signed paperwork enacting tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum during a hastily arranged event at the White House.
“Today, I am defending America’s national security by placing tariffs on foreign imports of steel and aluminum,” Trump said in the Roosevelt Room, flanked by steel and aluminum workers.
Trump called the struggles of domestic steel and aluminum industry a “travesty.”
“This has been an assault on our country,” he said.
The president temporarily exempted Canada and Mexico from the tariffs, arguing his administration would continue talks with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners. Trump has separately discussed withdrawing the United States from NAFTA.
Trump alluded earlier there could be additional carve-outs for Australia, though it’s unclear what that will entail.
“We’ll be doing something with them,” the president said during a Cabinet meeting. “We’ll be doing something with some other countries.”
White House officials said that all other countries will be able to make their case as to why they should be exempt from the tariffs and what they will do to shore up their national security relationship with the United States.
The president will have the discretion to add or subtract countries and raise and lower the tariffs at any time, a senior administration official said.
Republican lawmakers, business groups and overseas allies spent all week trying to persuade the president to scrap or curtail the tariffs, worrying that they could spark a global trade war.
But Trump could not be convinced, determined to deliver on his campaign promise to take a tougher approach on trade.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.