The Public Pulse: Trump's trade tirade

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

GETTYCanada led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is exempted – for now

The EU has said Europe will not waver against trade "bullies" as a row with US President Donald Trump over controversial steel and aluminium tariffs deepened.

"Right now, half the country thinks that the president is a lunatic, and they have very little confidence in his rational approach to issues, so they are anxious about politics as an issue", said Auth.

The U.S. sugar industry, which is very heavily protected, benefits in a similar way by being heavily concentrated in Florida, a frequent swing state.

The U.S. reported a $375 billion deficit with China a year ago, so a 20 percent reduction would still be among the largest trade gaps that it has with any country. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, is among many who have noted that with the world's strongest currency and largest economy, the United States attracts a surplus of foreign investment that is a positive for the economy but adds to the trade deficit.

The European Union and Japan, the United States' top economic and military ally in Asia, also reiterated that their exports were not a threat to US national security, rejecting Trump's justification for imposing the tariffs.

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Increasing mistrust between the long-time allies has increased since Trump became president previous year, but seeking to hurt the European Union economy with tariffs has acerbated ill feelings.

While Canada and Mexico are temporarily exempt while the future of NAFTA is being negotiated, the tariff is applied uniformly to all other countries, some of which are reconsidering their business relationships with the US. Tariffs raise the price of, and reduce demand for, imported goods.

Trump has also criticized China's currency manipulations, which increase costs of American goods and services by 25 to 40 percent.

"When these unilateral actions cannot be avoided, then of course we have to think about how we can respond in kind", Merkel said at a news conference in Berlin on Monday. Experts largely blame overproduction by China for that. Don't believe it. American workers are being stung by sucker trade - not free trade.

This reminds me of 35 years ago, when roughly 300 protectionist-minded trade bills were pending in the U.S. Congress. Half the average weighted tariffs imposed by China, one third those imposed by Mexico, and one quarter what India imposes.

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Misdirected metal tariffs are hardly the only way our dealmaker in chief has revealed himself to be a less-than-slick negotiator with China. Or, do we try to fix the situation.

Canada, the top supplier of steel and aluminium to the U.S. market, has been temporarily exempted from the tariffs, along with Mexico. This, of course, has attracted quite a lot of negative reaction. Whether tariffs on steel, a proposed "tax" on imported cars or threats to penalize countries that fail to meet North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defense-spending targets, Germany is the European country with most to lose. They don't go the extra little bit.

Oh my gosh ~ Did Trump really say that stuff?

Trump is a negotiator, and that is a major factor in how he does things. Additionally, regarding the scope of products subject to the tariffs, the Department of Commerce has the authority to exclude certain steel and aluminum products, if it determines that such products are not produced domestically (i) in sufficient and reasonably available amounts; or (ii) of satisfactory quality. Ultimately, the conclusion of this exercise will usually be more moderate than the initial proposal, and actually will provide positive change for our country. "And just recently we've seen how it is used to threaten and intimidate us".

James H. "Smokey" Shott, a resident of Bluefield, Va., is a Daily Telegraph columnist.

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