President Trump sent a message to the world when he announced the United States would not continue to honor the Iran nuclear agreement. He said the agreement did not do enough to help protect America, a metric he has taken to other trade deals as well. Since Iran did not wish to reconsider the deal, Trump announced that the Treasury Department would be imposing sanctions on Iranian individuals and Iran-based entities.
Trump then offered a global ultimatum: America will be put first in future trade deals.
It now appears that these were not just empty words, but Trump is seriously considering imposing tariffs on U.S. allies whose current trade negotiations do not do enough to help protect American workers and U.S.-based businesses.
As ABC News reports, Trump is eyeing tariffs on Mexico, Canada, and European allies for their unwillingness to renegotiation NAFTA, a trade agreement Trump often criticizes.
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The Trump administration announced Thursday it will impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Europe, Mexico and Canada after failing to win concessions from the American allies. Europe and Mexico pledged to retaliate quickly, exacerbating trans-Atlantic and North American trade tensions. Financial markets, rattled by the uncertainty, plunged.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the tariffs would be 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, and go into effect on Friday, as the administration followed through on the penalties after earlier granting exemptions to buy time for negotiations. President Donald Trump had announced the tariffs in March, citing national security concerns.
The European Commission’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker, said Trump’s decision amounted to trade protectionism and that Europe would respond with countermeasures. “This is protectionism, pure and simple,” Juncker said.
Trump administration to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Europe, Mexico and Canada after failing to win concessions from the U.S. allies.
The decision could provoke retaliatory penalties and exacerbate trade tensions. https://t.co/msYGDWs3rb
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) May 31, 2018
According to the report, Mexico has responded to the Trump administration and said they would impose tariffs on imports they receive from the U.S. These products would reportedly include pork bellies, apples, grapes, cheeses and flat steel.
“Canada considers it frankly absurd that we would in any way be considered to be a national security threat to the United States,” Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said, per ABC News. “The government is absolutely prepared to and will defend Canadian industries and Canadian jobs. We will respond appropriately.”
European countries in the EU could similarly retaliate by taxing orange juice, peanut butter, and other products from the U.S.
The U.S. Commerce Secretary said ongoing trade negotiations are taking longer than anticipated but would continue amid the tariff threats:
Ross told reporters that talks with Canada and Mexico over revising the North American Free Trade Agreement were “taking longer than we had hoped.” Talks with Europe had “made some progress” but not enough for additional exemptions, he said in a conference call from Paris.
“We continue to be quite willing and indeed eager to have further discussions,” Ross said. He said he planned to travel to China on Friday for trade talks between the world’s two biggest economies.
On NAFTA, Ross said there was “no longer a very precise date when they may be concluded and therefore (Canada and Mexico) were added into the list of those who will bear tariffs.”
Other U.S. allies are being affected by the ongoing trade discussions too, including Brazil, Argentina, Australia, and Japan. While the latter of those countries will face a tariff on imports, the others “have agreed to limit steel shipments to the U.S. in exchange for being spared the tariffs, the Commerce Department said.”