Wilbur Ross: Tariffs Will Help Bring Back US Steel Industry

In saying goodbye to Cohn, Trump has his eyes on the prize

Defending the action, the White House said Trump is addressing global overcapacity and "unfair trade practices" in the steel and aluminium industries by imposing the tariffs.

Republican congressional sources said Ryan and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady had been pressing Trump all week to avoid across-the-board steel and aluminum tariffs that would hurt USA allies, and were working to suggest ways to narrow the tariffs further.

Trump says a 25 percent tax will apply to steel imports, and 10 percent will be added to aluminum brought into the U.S.

European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said: "The EU is a close ally of the United States and we continue to be of the view that the EU should be excluded from these measures".

President Trump hopes these tariffs will help the US economy grow faster both in terms of output and employment.

The U.S.is the world's largest importer of steel, totaling 35 million tons of raw material in 2017, with South Korea, Japan, China and India accounting for 6.6 million tons. Canada and Mexico are the only two countries exempted, for now. Trading partners including the European Union threatened retaliation, triggering fears of a trade war.

After the signing ceremony, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said the EU should also be exempt from the ruling because it is a close ally of the US.

The Association also called upon the Chinese government to take counter measures against U.S. products such as stainless steel, galvanized sheet and seamless pipes, as well as coal, agricultural products and consumer electronics, reports Chinese news portal China News.

The surplus with the U.S. stood at $21 billion in February, China's official data showed, more than double the $10.4 billion surplus registered in February of a year ago.

"The lessons of history show engaging in a trade war is never the right way to resolve problems", said foreign minister Wang.

"It's really an assault on our country", he blasted, announcing the tariffs on the metals used in everything from cars to construction, roads to railways.

"We look forward to seeing what ideas they come back with".

Trump's audience includes a number of steelworkers along with administration officials.

Trump dusted off an obscure section of American trade law: It says the President can impose tariffs on imports that pose a threat to U.S. security.

President Donald Trump his action on tariffs on steel and aluminum imports is necessary to protect industries "ravaged by aggressive foreign trade practices".

There was political criticism aplenty, especially from Trump's own Republican Party.

In the days leading up to Thursday's announcement, the biggest trade move of Trump's presidency, key industry players and trading partners were still in the dark about the contours of the plan.

In his election campaign, Mr Trump pledged to protect American workers and to rebuild the steel and aluminium industries.

"We should prevent a trade war situation from excessive protectionism, in which the entire world harm each other", Trade Minister Paik Un-gyu told a meeting with steelmakers.

Thanomsri Fongarunrung, an economist at the Bangkok-based Phatra Securities, said Thailand already was facing steel import "dumping" by China.

While some would argue that President Trump is just making good on his campaign promise to level the worldwide trade playing field, others, like White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, are concerned that this potential action could hurt the USA economy and more importantly, trigger a trade war that could cause the next global recession.

US automakers are among the businesses with the most at stake, accounting for 38 percent of the aluminum and 15 percent of the steel consumed in the country, according to Ward's Automotive Reports.

U.S. imports from China of steel and aluminium make up a small proportion of its total imports from the world's second largest economy.

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