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Trump Plans Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum

Washington (March 02, 2018): United States President Donald Trump said Thursday his administration will impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports as early as next week, a highly controversial move that Trump framed along economic and national security lines.

Trump said the US will impose a 25% tariff on steel imports and 10% tariff on aluminium to shore up the struggling industries, capping a fierce, months-long internal debate that divided some of the President’s top advisers. The move is likely to invite retaliatory measures from foreign countries, raising the specter of a trade war between the US and several other steel-producing countries.Trump announced the move during a hastily arranged meeting with steel and aluminium executives, even though the policy he announced is not yet ready to be implemented, let alone fully crafted. He acknowledged the policy is “being written now.”

“We’ll be signing it next week. And you’ll have protection for a long time in a while. You’ll have to regrow your industries, that’s all I’m asking,” Trump said. “What’s been allowed to go on for decades is disgraceful. It’s disgraceful. When it comes to a time where our country can’t make aluminium and steel … you almost don’t have much of a country.”The tariffs will amount to perhaps the most substantive and wide-reaching trade action Trump has taken to date, making good on another key campaign promise.

But the announcement also sent the stock market tumbling, with the Dow taking a 500-point dip in the first hours after the announcement. The plan also drew a stiff rebuke from US manufacturers of products made using steel and aluminium, who maintained that the tariffs could lead to lost jobs in their operations and increased consumer prices.

Trump’s announcement on Thursday came after hours of back and forth between White House officials who remained uncertain up until the President uttered the words on Thursday whether he would preview his tariff-imposing plans.The President had told aides on Wednesday to lay the groundwork for him to announce new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports the next day, sending them scrambling to determine what specific policy he could announce and others racing to contact executives and union representatives from the industry to attend the announcement at the White House, multiple sources said.

The White House added a last-minute event with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and steel and aluminium industry representatives at the White House on Thursday morning and initially said it would be closed to press, before ultimately inviting in the cameras.

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