Trump risks trade war to fulfill political pledge

Harley-Davidson bikes could be in the firing line in trade war

Harley-Davidson bikes could be in the firing line in trade war

Trump danced around the question of whether the tariff threat will be used to bully Canada and Mexico at the NAFTA bargaining table.

He has also left open the possibility of later excluding allies such as Australia.

The Washington Post reported that the European Union was quietly preparing to go even further, imposing tariffs that broadly target food and industrial imports, and more. The UK steel industry has said that tariffs would have a "profound impact" on their business and the British Prime Minister has voiced here concerns to Mr Trump about the move.

However, most GOP lawmakers have balked at Trump's approach, which includes exemptions for Mexico and Canada and the opportunity for other countries to appeal for a similar reprieve. Therefore, Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch voiced that the ultimate takers of the punishment will be both the American firm and individual, who purchases the steel and aluminum products.

"I'm concerned that after everything we've done to help our constituents through tax reform, the tariffs the president recently announced are going to undermine some of these recent gains", said Rep. Kevin Yoder, Kansas Republican.

The President added that he was fulfilling a campaign promise by imposing the tariffs, asserting that support from steelworkers was part of the reason why he won the presidency. "Not any longer. The workers who poured their souls into building this great nation were betrayed, but that betrayal is now over".

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The threat of tariffs hung over the negotiations in Mexico City, and Lighthizer said it was an incentive for Canada and Mexico to get a deal - a sentiment echoed by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross after Trump's announcement.

Oil prices fell and were setting up for a second consecutive weekly drop as the dollar strengthened and concerns over rising USA crude production continued to mount on signs of an inventory build at a key United States storage hub.

Philip Levy, a former trade adviser in President George W. Bush's administration, told AP that the flaw in Trump basing his tariffs on national security was that military allies could ask to be excluded, undermining the president's stated goal of protecting domestic steel and aluminum mill jobs.

"They are casualties of the process, but there is very little they can do right now, because developing countries, transition economies, least developed countries are incapable of retaliatory action against the US", Unctad secretary general Mukhisa Kituyi told Reuters in Geneva.

At play is the most immediate of the EU's proposed three-pronged response to the Trump tariffs.

It should not come as much of a surprise that Trump would raise tariffs.

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Analysts at Capital Economics said the move looked like "another example of Trump's favored negotiating tactic of announcing punitive measures in the hope of extracting concessions".

"I'm not sure there are any winners in trade wars", said Johnson, who once ran a plastics manufacturing business in his home state.

He was genuinely glad at the United States leader's posture on trade, proud that the horse he had backed was coming through on the things that matter to him. "Our economy and our national security are strengthened by fostering free trade with our allies and promoting the rule of law".

"Trade wars are not won, they are only lost", said Mr Flake, who past year announced that he would not seek re-election in 2018, meaning he is less susceptible to the President's frequent attacks than most. "Congress can not be complicit as the administration courts economic disaster".

While cautiously praising Mr Trump's new tariffs, the House of Representatives' top legislator on tax issues said they should be narrowed. The North American Free Trade Agreement, a tri-nation treaty between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, was established in 1994 for the objective of eliminating trade barriers and promoting the tariff-free exchange of commerce. "As America's economy and trading partners react to these new taxes, Congress - which has constitutional authority over trade with foreign nations - will continue to be actively engaged with the administration".

Mnuchin noted that Trump wants to be sure that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation gets more funding from European allies.

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