Trump says he will impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports ‘next week’



President Donald Trump has told U.S. aluminum and steel executives that he’ll impose import tariffs ‘next week’ in a bid to boost American manufacturing. (March 1) AP

WASHINGTON — President Trump said Thursday he will soon place tariffs on steel and aluminum imports —  a move that could trigger retaliation from trade partners who may target American products.

“We’ll probably see you sometime next week — we’ll be signing it in,” Trump said after discussing tariffs with a group of steel and aluminum executives. “And you will have protection for the first time in a long while.”

While arguing that the United States has been treated “horribly treated by other countries,” Trump also told the executives that “you’re going to regrow your industries. That’s all I’m asking.”

Trump told reporters he would impose 25% percent tariffs on steel imports and 10% on aluminum imports, but provided no further details.

Skeptics, including some Republican lawmakers, quickly objected by saying that trading partners and rivals would slap counter-tariffs on U.S. products and increase costs worldwide.

“The President is proposing a massive tax increase on American families,” said Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., adding that “you’d expect a policy this bad from a leftist administration, not a supposedly Republican one.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, a frequent supporter of Trump, also denounced what he called “a tax hike the American people don’t need and can’t afford,” and he urged the president to reconsider.

The American International Automobile Dealers Association said car sales are already flat, and “the burden of these tariffs, as always, will be passed on to the American consumer.”

The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 350 points in the hours after Trump’s comments.

Proposed tariffs have also drawn objections from members of Trump’s staff, ranging from White House economic adviser Gary Cohn to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Trump is sticking up for the American worker. She also said no one should be surprised by the announcement, and that Trump campaigned for president on the issue of higher tariffs.

“This is something the president has wanted to do for quite some time,” Sanders said.

Earlier in the morning, Trump had tweeted: “Our Steel and Aluminum industries (and many others) have been decimated by decades of unfair trade and bad policy with countries from around the world. We must not let our country, companies and workers be taken advantage of any longer. We want free, fair and SMART TRADE!”

Our Steel and Aluminum industries (and many others) have been decimated by decades of unfair trade and bad policy with countries from around the world. We must not let our country, companies and workers be taken advantage of any longer. We want free, fair and SMART TRADE!

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