The Trump administration’s economic plan to implement a 25 percent steel tariff and a 10 percent aluminum tariff, and with potential exemptions for bilateral trade partners, is being met with resistance within the president’s own Republican Party.
Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah, has expressed his opposition to the Trump tariffs.
“I think there is a good chance that we will nullify them, at least if I had it my way, because I just don’t see it personally,” Senator Hatch said.
In a statement, Hatch laid out his argument that tariffs represent a “tax hike”:
“Simply put: This is a tax hike on American manufacturers, workers and consumers. Slapping aluminum and steel imports with tariffs of this magnitude is misguided. It undermines the benefits that the new tax law provides and runs counter to our goal of advancing pro-growth trade policies that will keep America competitive in the 21st century global economy.”
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan recommended that the president reconsider the tariff policy, while seeking solutions to potential ramifications.
“We want to limit as much unintended consequences and collateral economic damage as possible. And we want to work with the administration to do that,”Ryan said.
Europe and China lashed out against the president’s tariff plan. China, a frequent target of Trump’s trade policy criticism, communicated it would do what is necessary to “take effective measures to protect China’s rights.” Metal industry trade groups in China called for retaliation, targeting imports ranging from “stainless steel and electronics to coal and farm products,” as Market Watch reported. S&P Global Platts estimates that only 2% of steel imports into the US come from China.
American steelworkers “cheered the tariffs” as a benefit for their industry. Dan Simmons, president of United Steelworkers Local 1899 in Granite City, Ill., said they “will allow us to compete.”
An economics professor interviewed by ABC News provided a picture of what might be expected from the tariffs.
“I think ultimately it can be good in the short term for steelworkers,” said Assistant Professor of Economics at OSU Kyle Dempsey.
The report goes on to state that consumers can expect a price increase for products that are comprised of metals with tariffs on them, such as canned goods and appliances.
“If there’s a trade war and in response, tariffs are raised, that could even push down our supply in steel because it pushes down the demand,” Professor Dempsey added.
President Trump has reiterated that he is not “backing down” on the tariffs.
“A strong steel and aluminum industry are vital to our national security — absolutely vital. Steel is steel, you don’t have steel you don’t have a country,” Trump said.
“This is not merely an economic disaster, but it’s a security disaster we want to build our ships, we want to build our planes … with steel and aluminum from our country,” Trump said Thursday. “We’re finally taking action to correct this long overdue problem. Today I’m defending America’s national security by placing tariffs on foreign imports of steel and aluminum.”
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