Trump may impose duties on imports from China

Donald Trump’s trade policy pales in comparison to the scale and scope of the protectionist policies of president Ronald Reagan’s administration in the 1980s

US crude rose 0.35 percent to $60.92 per barrel and Brent was last at $64.84, up 0.31 percent.

Anne Forristall Luke, president of the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association, said the group would be "pressing very hard" for an exemption from tariffs for high-strength wire rod used to make cord for steel tire belts that is not produced by U.S. mills.

"In addition to rejecting and reworking failed trade deals, the United States will crack down on those nations that violate trade agreements and harm American workers in the process".

Trump has said that the tariffs are necessary on national security grounds, but European Union trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom insisted this is a ruse: "We suspect that the USA move is effectively not based on security considerations but an economic safeguard measure in disguise".

That helped continue a trend of flattening yield curves on US government bonds, with the spread between two- and 10-year Treasury yields down 3.2 basis points to 55.3 basis points.

The euro slipped 0.2 per cent against the dollar, inching off an overnight one-month high after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the ECB needed more evidence that inflation was rising toward target.

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Speaking with reporters in the Capitol, US House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady stressed that Trump was serious about addressing the issue of intellectual property theft with China. "Right at the time we need to work together as the liberal democracies of this world to curb unfair trade practices of China and others, we are divided".

Trump recently imposed steep aluminum and steel tariffs on China, while accusing the country of propping up wasteful factories.

USA business groups, while uneasy about triggering Chinese retaliation, have increasingly pressed Washington to take action on Beijing's industrial policies, such as market access restrictions and the "Made in China 2025" plan, which aims to supplant foreign technologies with domestic ones.

"China's biggest worry has always been joint push-back from its major Western trading partners", the diplomat said.

A second person, who is an industry lobbyist in Washington who is familiar with the administration's thinking said the process was being led by Peter Navarro, an avowed protectionist, who has accused American companies of conniving with the Chinese state, and by Commerce Secretary Robert Lighthizer, who also favors tariffs as a tool.

"Senior Trump administration officials had directly approached European leaders at a senior level".

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