Trump Signs Metals Tariffs Sparing Some Allies

Wall Street Journal, Mar 9, 2018
by Jacob M. Schlesinger and Rebecca Ballhaus

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump kicked his “America First” trade policy into high gear Thursday, launching global tariffs on steel and aluminum, while signaling even more aggressive pressure on trading partners to come, especially against China.

In announcing the measures, the president outlined his broader trade agenda, including rewriting existing U.S. pacts and a continuing sweeping investigation of Chinese trade practices, issuing a veiled threat that even bigger penalties are looming against Beijing. “We’re going to cut down the deficits [with China] one way or the other,” he said.

As Mr. Trump ratcheted up rhetorical pressure on China, the U.S.’s largest trading partner, he unveiled metal-industry protections that were considerably softer than opponents had feared a week ago when he first announced they were coming. The president and aides had originally said no countries would be exempt from the 25% steel tariff or 10% aluminum tariff, but on Thursday suggested that a large number of countries could ultimately be spared.

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