Tags: Donald Trump | Trump Administration | white house | no exemptions | tariffs

White House: No Exemptions on Steel, Aluminum Tariffs

White House: No Exemptions on Steel, Aluminum Tariffs
(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 02 March 2018 08:50 PM

No countries will be exempt from the steep steel and aluminum tariffs President Donald Trump announced this week, which have outraged allies and stoked fears of a global trade war, a senior White House official said Friday.

Trump "made clear that this would be an across-the-board tariff with no exclusions," including key allies Canada and Europe, the official told reporters.

However, the White House will consider possible exemptions in "situations" that arise on a case-by-case basis, the official said.

President Trump's announcement Thursday with industry leaders at the White House that he would impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum outraged allies and stoked fears of a global trade war.

Trump tweeted Friday, however, that "trade wars are good, and easy to win" — and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross called the tariffs "no big deal," illustrating their "trivial" impact on prices with a can of Campbell's soup.

But other top administration officials —among them National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Defense Secretary James Mattis and national security adviser H.R. McMaster — oppose the tariffs and have successfully fended them off for more than a year, according to news reports.

Still, the Dow Jones responded by plunging 420 points Thursday and 301 points early Friday before erasing most of the losses and finishing down 71 points.

"When people are nervous, they're more likely to react and overreact more strongly," said James Norman, head of equity strategy at QS Investors in New York. "That's the kind of market environment we're in right now."

Trump plans to outline the specifics of his plan next week, but his disclosure triggered wrath from fellow Republicans, economists and corporate leaders.

Economist Larry Kudlow called the planned duties a "blunt instrument" that could adversely affect U.S. consumers and companies.

"Tariffs are taxes — and the ones that suffer most are the users," Kudlow told "Squawk Box" on CNBC. "It will be painful."

Ford Motor Co. said Friday that the tariffs could harm the "competitiveness of American manufacturers" because of higher steel prices.

Many Republicans also stood strong against the tariffs.

"Let's go after the offenders, but we certainly do not want to do it in a way that is going to drive up prices for the American consumer," Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn told Newsmax TV's John Bachman in an interview on "Newsmax Now."

"This is where Congress comes in and says, 'This is how it's going to impact my district and the products that are produced in my district."

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman called for "a more targeted approach as to the product and as to the country where it's coming from."

"We're a big steel state," he told NBC News.

"We want to protect our steel workers — we've lost 1,500 steelworkers in the last couple years — but want to be sure that it's not going to also hurt the automakers and the other users of steel, manufacturers."

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin warned of "unintended consequences" of President Trump's duties.

"The speaker is hoping the president will consider the unintended consequences of this idea and look at other approaches before moving forward," spokesman Doug Andres said.

Other Republicans were more vicious.

Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, who has long squared off against President Trump, called the tariffs "kooky 18th century protectionism" that "will jack up prices on American families and will prompt retaliation from other countries.

"Make no mistake: If the president goes through with this, it will kill American jobs, that's what every trade war ultimately does.

"So much losing."

Utah Sen. Mike Lee slammed them as a "huge job-killing tax hike."

"While I am sympathetic to the issues facing domestic steel manufacturers, there must be a better way to address the steel industries concerns," Lee said.

"I hope Congress and the executive branch can identify an alternative solution before these tariffs are finalized next week."

Globally, World Trade Organization Director General Roberto Azevedo warned Friday from Geneva that "a trade war is in no one's interests."

"The WTO is clearly concerned at the announcement of U.S. plans for tariffs on steel and aluminum," Azevedo said. "The potential for escalation is real, as we have seen from the initial responses of others."

Canada, from where the U.S. imported the most steel last year, ripped President Trump's plan as "absolutely unacceptable."

"Canada would view any trade restrictions on Canadian steel and aluminum as absolutely unacceptable," Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland said.

"Any restrictions would harm workers, the industry and manufacturers on both sides of the border.

"The steel and aluminum industry is highly integrated and supports critical North American manufacturing supply chains," she said.

"The Canadian government will continue to make this point directly with the American administration at all levels."

Newsmax wires contributed to this report.

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No countries will be exempt from the steep steel and aluminum tariffs President Donald Trump announced this week, which have outraged allies and stoked fears of a global trade war, a senior White House official said Friday.
white house, no exemptions, tariffs
Friday, 02 March 2018 08:50 PM
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