International Monetary Fund opposes President Trump's import duty plan on steel, aluminum

Canada's metal producers are urging the government to push back against an American plan to slap steep tariffs on aluminum and steel imports, saying they are being unfairly targeted in a sweeping strategy aimed at protecting US companies from state-sponsored Chinese producers.

To apply these tariffs, the invoking a rarely used clause in a 1962 trade law that allows the president to declare tariffs if required by national security.

An editorial in the conservative Wall Street Journal typified the dismay of industry advocates, calling the tariffs the "biggest policy blunder" of Trump's young presidency and "self-inflicted folly".

The analysis came a day after Trump surprised seemingly everyone with specific, imminent tariffs on the materials.

China's foreign minister tore into the new steel and aluminum tariffs announced by US President Trump, calling them "groundless" in remarks to state media Saturday.

"Yerxa said the national security basis for the tariffs had never been applied to allies". That is no showstopper, they contended.

"If Canada fails to obtain an exemption from unjust and punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum exports to the United States, then the Canadian government has no choice but to withdraw from NAFTA renegotiations", Unifor said in a statement.

The oil and gas sector in the United States' Houston area might suffer from the White House's steep tariff measure on steel and aluminum imports, a US economist said Friday.

"We will not sit idly when European industry and jobs are threatened", European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said.

"Steel to us is everything".

Those fears were exacerbated early Friday when Trump welcomed a trade war in a blistering series of tweets, saying they are "good and easy to win". Concerned about their jobs and the future, many will welcome Mr Trump's comments.

South Korea shipped 3.6 million tons of steel products to the US previous year, becoming the No. 3 steel exporter after Canada and Brazil, according to the US Department of Commerce.

But Trump could find his move backfires, as the European Union prepares retaliatory measures.

China also condemned the move, with a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson saying: "If all countries followed the example of the United States, [it] will undoubtedly result in a serious impact on the global trade order". The EU will further seek to settle the dispute before the World Trade Organisation, he added.

The European Union has said it plans to apply 25% tariffs on $3.5 billion of USA imports to the continent in response to "rebalance" trade.

Yesterday Prime Minister Theresa May called the President to express her "deep concern" at his move, urging "multilateral action" to solve the problems of "global oversupply".

"This has the potential to get worse, but there's a long way to go before we have a trade war", he said.

  • Leroy Wright