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Planned US steel tariffs not 'helpful': senior United Kingdom official

13 March 2018

The Dow climbed 336 points on Monday after House Speaker Paul Ryan and other top Republicans broke with the White House over President Trump's planned steel and aluminum tariffs.

US President Donald Trump's proposed tariffs on steel and aluminium imports are a "black day" for the world and could hurt the Australian economy, according to BHP Billiton chief executive Andrew Mackenzie. The president bolstered that theory by tweeting on Monday that Canada and Mexico could duck the tariffs only if the USA gets a "new & fair" trade deal.

Some analysts hope Trump's tariffs are simply a negotiating gambit to wring more concessions out of Canada and Mexico in current NAFTA talks. It's not just the US economy that will suffer: The tariffs would punish some of America's closest allies, including NAFTA partners and the EU.

"Hitting out at Mexico, the US President tweeted, ".treat our farmers much better. "Highly restrictive. Mexico must do much more on stopping drugs from pouring into the US". "Millions of people addicted and dying". "We're going to take care of it", he said. Trump escalated those fears on Friday by writing on Twitter, "Trade wars are good, and easy to win".

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In addition, they're concerned a unsafe trade war could be on the horizon if the president goes through with the special import taxes.

Trump administration officials said Monday that the tariffs will be made official in the next two weeks. On imposing the tariffs, the president said, "Right now, 100 per cent, but it could be a part of NAFTA".

The European Commission is preparing punitive tariffs on US exports from motorcycles to Kentucky bourbon, according to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

If Trump follows through with a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent duty on aluminum, it will mean job losses.

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"If they do that then we put a big tax of 25 percent on their cars and believe me they won't be doing it for very long", he warned, pointing to an "unfair" trade setup between the European Union and the U.S. Students of the Great Depression, for example, contend that one of the factors that exacerbated the 12-year economic disaster was the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which imposed higher taxes on over 20,000 imported goods from 1930 to 1934. Much of the aluminum used in the US comes from Canada.

36% of respondents said the tariffs would be bad for American jobs.

"Whether it's friend or enemy", Trump said in the Oval Office Monday. "We can't have a country that can defend itself and prosper without an aluminum and steel industry".

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Planned US steel tariffs not 'helpful': senior United Kingdom official