Trump tariffs: Will actions hurt or help American workers?

Trump tariffs: Will actions hurt or help American workers?

Trump tariffs: Will actions hurt or help American workers?

On Monday, Trudeau started a four-day tour of Canada's steel and aluminum towns with a stop at a Rio Tinto aluminum production facility in Quebec's Saguenay region. He was to also visit three Canadian steel cities this week to reassure workers.

"The steel and aluminium sectors have been under attack by predatory trade practices", said Leo Gerard, president of United Steelworkers International.

"In some places trade has been to blame for the pains of globalisation or they used it as a scapegoat or they think we can live behind walls and borders", she continued.

The Trump administration has exempted Canada and Mexico from these tariffs, which is of some comfort to the Oklahoma industries that do substantial business with those countries.

President Donald Trump on Thursday ordered tariffs on imported steel and aluminum with exemptions for Canada and Mexico.

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Concerns that a protectionist wing will dominatethe White House may be overdone. Based on Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, the stiff tariffs will apply to all countries, except Mexico and Canada, with negotiations on NAFTA now underway.

"We really have nowhere to go but up", says Phil Levy, senior fellow at the Chicago Council for Global Affairs and a White House economist in the George W. Bush administration.

Trump has even taken flak from Fox News, as well as from within his own Republican Party, which has long advocated for free trade policies. He is already talking about steeper tariffs on European auto imports.

Global trade lawyer Larry Herman says Canada can do several things, including promising temporary surcharges under the Customs Tariffs Act on any country found to be dumping steel, as well as tightening up the system that issues permits for steel imports, which he says is more a formality than a check on the system at the moment.

Washington is targeting Chinese high technology companies to punish them for China's investment policies that effectively force US companies to give up their technology secrets in exchange for being allowed to operate in the country along with other allegations of intellectual property theft.

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While some countries in the World Trade Organisation may be considering action, Mr Turnbull said the exemption meant Australia did not have a basis to bring a complaint.

Eduardo Solis, president of the Mexican Automotive Industry Association and a former trade negotiator, said the USA already was going out on a limb by claiming that the steel and aluminum tariffs were needed for national security.

It may well find ways to join other steel exporters such as the European Union and Japan to overcome the trade barriers.

Typically, it takes years for the WTO to rule on whether the retaliatory measures are justified, so it is possible that Canada, the European Union and other jurisdictions that feel unjustly injured could simply enact the tariffs and duties now and take their chances that the US drops its tariffs before it ever gets to the WTO for a ruling.

The Commission said it expected to be in contact with Washington over the metals tariffs this week, but that no formal talks had been scheduled.

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Trump said that he would negotiate with countries hoping to be exempted from the new tariff measure, before it comes into effect.

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