As feared by top U.S. trade partners and close allies Canada, Mexico, and Europe, the Trump administration has now acted on its threat to raise taxes on steel and aluminum imports of 25 and 10 percent, respectively.
The response has been swift: all three have now reluctantly but firmly announced retaliation lists that cover a variety of items including a number of products from politically sensitive U.S. regions and Congressional districts. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau implored the United States to rethink its actions, voicing his hope that common sense would eventually prevail.
The U.S. decision was taken, according to administration spokespeople, under provisions intended to be utilized only on very rare occasion in support of national security interests. In so doing, the administration has opened the door to similar moves by other nations which can now claim certain protectionist actions are required to support their own national security interests. It is a dangerous and self-defeating road.