How exciting can trade disputes be? Ask Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. It grossed $1,027,044,677 worldwide. So here’s a billion-dollar article. In more ways than one.
On Monday, the U.S. challenged five trade partners’ punitory tariffs at the World Trade Organization.
Robert Lighthizer, trade representative for the U.S., said cases are being launched against Turkey, Mexico, Canada, China, and the European Union in response to new tariffs due to President Trump’s national security-oriented charges on aluminum and steel.
Lighthizer defended Trump:
“The actions taken by the President are wholly legitimate and fully justified as a matter of U.S. law and international trade rules.”
Furthermore, he excoriated the nations involved for their vengeful moves:
“Instead of working with us to address a common problem, some of our trading partners have elected to respond with retaliatory tariffs designed to punish American workers, farmers and companies.”
The tariffs aren’t merely in bad taste; according to Lighthizer, they’re in violation of WTO regulations. And regardless of them, the U.S. will do whatever is necessary to guard its interests:
“The United States will take all necessary actions to protect our interests, and we urge our trading partners to work constructively with us on the problems created by massive and persistent excess capacity in the steel and aluminum sectors.”
The Donald hit partnering nations with a 25 percent charge on steel imports in March (and remember: he’s the artist of the deal, as covered here and here). In addition, he imposed a 10 percent tax on aluminum.
In response, billions were levied against the U.S.
China slapped a 15-25 percent tariff on $3 billion worth of U.S. product, and Turkey affixed taxes to $1.8 billion in American goods. Those turkeys!
Canada, Mexico, and the European Union initially were left out of Trump’s added duties, but that changed in May.
Canada struck the States especially hard, with 10-25 percent attached to $12.7 billion in U.S. product. Mexico went with 7-25 percent on $3.6 billion, and the EU lashed out with 10-25 percent on $3.2.
And more is coming, on June 1, 2021.
That’s a whooole lot of money.
But in Trump’s case, those aren’t amounts with which he’s unfamiliar.
When Trump ran for President, I thought the idea of a businessman running the country made a lot of sense (I also very much liked this about him). His expressed interests were different than that of any candidates I’d heard before, except for possibly Ross Perot. Even Mitt Romney, with his great business pedigree and acumen, didn’t talk like Donald. Trump was speaking about something no other politician seemed to much care for: American success. He wanted us to win. As evidenced by multitudes of red hats in 2016, I’d say he struck a chord. And so, here we are, with a man at the helm who’s fighting for our interests. And I, for one, am glad.
So, apparently, is Laura Ingraham:
Good! More pro America trade moves. https://t.co/0tHqmGxuh0
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) July 16, 2018
During the Obama years, we heard a great deal of diplomacy and, to many, an abundance of weakness. International relations are important; but we should never find ourselves with the short end of the stick in order to get along. Is Trump right about aluminum and steel taxation? I don’t know. But I trust him to know, more than I’ve trusted the last few presidents. Do you?
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