Is Donald Trump right that aluminum, steel industries have been decimated?

Trump is not the first protectionist president

In the USA market, sales of Chinese steel have plunged because of earlier tariffs of up to 522 percent imposed on some products to offset what Washington says are improper subsidies to producers.

The week of March 4, President Trump issued a presidential proclamation imposing a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports following findings in the Department of Commerce's Section 232 National Security Investigation of Imports of Steel and Aluminum.

He said Canada and Mexico are exempt for the time being and other nations could also seek an exemption if they are willing to negotiate a trade deal that is more fair for American workers.

Trump's tariffs, like his hardline NAFTA demands, have the prospective to turn the internationally integrated auto industry upside down.

In the more immediate aftermath of the tariff announcement, reaction in the metals industry has been predictably divided along the US-Canadian border. "I'm happy to work with (the United States) to do even more to ensure that diversion or other ways of getting lower-cost material unfairly onto Canadian soil is prevented in every way we can". The Beer Institute, a trade group representing the world's largest brewers, estimates the 10 percent tariff on the aluminum encasing most beer sold in the USA will push costs up by $348 million annually, threatening more than 20,000 jobs in the industry.

"Without the capacity cutting, there would have been much more production than there is now", said Wang Suzhen, an analyst for Mysteel, a news service that follows the Chinese industry. The top country we import from is Canada, which apparently should be grateful it has been given a reprieve from these tariffs "at least at this time".

Trump is correct that employment levels in the the metal industry are a fraction of what they once were, though experts attribute this more to automation than foreign imports.

Does the Trump doctrine risk a trade war?

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Last week, the European commissioner for trade, Cecilia Malmstrom, repeatedly insisted that she did not buy the American pretext that the tariffs aimed to protect the national security of the US. Because duh, everyone knows you prove yourself a tough negotiator by making a ridiculously teeny opening ask. GATT was superseded by the World Trade Organization in 1995. He has said trade wars are "easy to win" and spent part of his weekend firing barbs at the European Union, which has threatened retaliation against the United States.

Trump signed the new tariffs order on Thursday.

When President George W. Bush raised steel tariffs in 2002, U.S. gross domestic product declined by $30.4 million, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission.

The US is the world's biggest importer of steel, purchasing 35 million tonnes of raw material in 2017. High tariffs enacted on electronics and clothing, which the USA buys a lot of from China, would sharpen trade frictions and risk economic side effects in the US such as inflation.

Based on my conversations with Donald Trump on this subject, his doctrine is predicated on the undeniable truism that nations such as China and Russian Federation need America far more than we need them.

Brazil has said it will seek exemption from the newly imposed tariffs. That's set off a race for US allies to plead for special treatment, while China has warned of "strong" measures to protect its interests.

Canada sent troops into the losing Afghan War to persuade the Americans to keep the border open to trade.

That is where President Trump's complaint is right. In contrast, Chinese steel comprises just 2% of all American steel imports. If U.S. Steel restarts part of its plant in Granite City, Ill., which has been out of commission for more than two years, the company could hire 500 workers.

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