Trump is plotting a trade war over steel

Mika Brzezinski of Morning Joe speaks at Genius Gala

The Friday report said Trump and a few of his advisers are committed to putting tariffs on steel, and potentially other imports such as aluminum, paper, semiconductors and appliances.

In a plan pushed by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and backed by chief strategist Steve Bannon (not present at the meeting), trade policy director Peter Navarro and senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, the United States would impose tariffs on China and other big exporters of steel.

Axios noted that the war of wills took place on Monday, and though those opposed to such a measure far outnumbered Trump and his "America First" contingency, which support the tariffs, the latter emerged victorious.

Mika Brzezinski at Trump Tower
Mika Brzezinski at Trump Tower

No decision has been made, but the President is leaning towards imposing tariffs, despite opposition from almost all his Cabinet. "Given Trump's apparent tendency to change his opinion after discussions with USA allies, we would argue that any conclusions that 20%-25% tariffs are a done deal may be overly presumptive", said analysts at Axiom Capital Management.

At a recent steel conference in NY, an official from the U.S. Commerce Department said that if there are tariffs, the goal would be to have them be larger than potential currency swings, according to a research note on Thursday from Cowen & Co analysts. The publication also points out there's a good chance it would result in a recession. U.S. Steel Corp and Nucor Corp rose about 1 percent each, while AK Steel Holding edged up 0.2 percent.

Just months ago, when speaking about his intention to curb imports of the metal, the president said, "Steel is critical to both our economy and our military".


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