Trump Risks Global Trade War If He Restricts Imports of Steel and Aluminum


But on Friday, China and the European Union (EU) both told the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Goods Council that “section 232” tariffs could not be justified on national security grounds, while others suggested that it could provoke retaliation.

Washington is looking to reduce excess global production capacity of steel, particularly in China. Trump, backed by a small group of allies, told a meeting of top officials at the White House on Monday that he wants to impose tariffs as high as 20% on the metal, as well as potentially on other imports such as aluminum, semiconductors, paper and washing machines, according to the news website Axios.

“One official estimated the sentiment in the room as 22 against and 3 in favor – but since one of the three is named Donald Trump, it was case closed,” Axios reported. “Everyone else in the room, more than 75% of those present, were adamantly opposed, arguing it was bad economics and bad global politics. At one point, Trump was told his almost entire cabinet thought this was a bad idea. But everyone left the room believing the country is headed toward a major trade confrontation.”

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