June 21, 2018

Theresa May expresses disappointment over 'unjustified' United States tariffs

04 June 2018, 01:17 | Marta Robbins

Canada files WTO complaint over illegal US tariffs

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau left speaks as Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland listens during a news conference in Ottawa Ontario on Thursday

"Today's announcement-new tariffs against key USA allies-undermines the administration's own China strategy", he wrote.

Those tariffs are meant to increase the price of imports or to punish foreign countries for committing unfair trade practices, like subsidizing their exporters and dumping their products at unfairly low prices.

Some people familiar with the matter have told Reuters that approval may depend on progress of broader talks and a reprieve from a US government ban on sales by USA companies to China's ZTE Corp, penalised for illegally supplying telecommunications gear to Iran and North Korea.

But Trump's an artful dealmaker, right?

Global supply chains are at risk from the actions being initiated by Mr Trump and, because of his powerful position and erratic behaviour, no-one knows for sure how this will play out.

Um, no. What it is, is good old protectionism.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday that U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union (EU), Canada and Mexico will take effect from Friday.

The White House said in late April that the steel and aluminum tariff exemptions for European Union member countries, Canada and Mexico would be extended until June 1 in order to give "a final 30 days" for them to reach agreements over trade negotiations. But they can also increase costs more broadly for US manufacturers who cannot source all their steel locally and need to import the raw material. She dismissed the argument that the tariffs were needed for USA national security reasons, saying: "Internal security is not relevant". He said he planned to travel to China on Friday for trade talks between the world's two biggest economies. The study was reported online in The Hill.

The final list of Chinese imports affected by United States tariffs will be announced June 15 and imposed shortly thereafter, while the proposed investment restrictions and enhanced export controls will be announced by June 30, according to the White House.

Questions surround outcome of Trump-Kim summit
He is also on the State Affairs Commission, the North Korean government's supreme policymaking organization. The topic came up last week in Moscow , when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Putin.

By that reasoning, only a much bigger, more widely destructive trade war would give the US administration pause.

Other EU countries such as France favor a more robust stance against what they see as American bullying. You guessed it, the isolationist one.

In 2017, United States imports of steel and aluminum products covered by Section 232 tariffs totalled Dollars 29 billion and USD 17.4 billion respectively. Their foreign rivals can buy steel more cheaply and offer their products at lower prices.

California agricultural producers will be hard hit as well, with products such as almonds, wine and dairy targeted. One U.S. analyst estimates that "for every one job gained, eighteen will be lost" in the United States. And Canada is faring worse in this "deal" than our opponents.

Officials from the three trading partners - among Washington's closest allies for decades - have dismissed the idea that their shipments to American customers endanger the United States - and some prominent Republicans attacked the tariffs as wrongheaded.

"Canada is a secure supplier of aluminum and steel to the USA defence industry, putting aluminum in American planes and steel in American tanks", Trudeau said.

Politically, as American business, workers and consumers see where USA protectionism is leading, Republicans will take the blame at the polls. "This is not the way we do business, and certainly not between longstanding partners, friends and allies", she said in a statement. "To be honest, they can not believe that they've gotten away with this for so many decades", Trump said.

The truth is that free trade policies that allow a country to meet needs by importing goods and raw materials at a lower cost are beneficial, even if the value of imports exceeds the value of exports.

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