Trump shoots himself in the foot over steel tariff

United States President Donald Trump’s newly announced tariffs on steel and aluminium won’t help the U.S. economy and may cause bigger job losses in sectors using steel, an EU economist has said.

“Trump is really shooting himself in the foot,” said Fredrik Erixon, the director of the European Centre for International Political Economy, a Brussels-based think tank.

“Trump’s new tariffs won’t help the U.S. economy,” she said in the interview published by Xinhua.

These measures, if put into place, will affect exports to the United States from Europe and many other countries, he said.

On Thursday, Trump announced the imposition of additional import duties on EU exports of steel and aluminium to the United States, set at 25 percent for steel and 10 percent for aluminium. Similar restrictions will also be imposed on exports from other suppliers.

Previous steel tariffs in the United States led to a small increase in U.S. steel jobs, but far bigger job losses in sectors using steel, he said.

The cost of construction and car production will go up, making it more expensive to build new infrastructure and to be globally competitive in the automobile sector, the economist added.

Moreover, Erixon warned that U.S.-EU trade relations would be affected by imposing additional import duties on EU exports of steel and aluminium to the United States.

“There are always some trade and economic frictions between them, but now that the U.S. says that one of its key allies can’t export freely to the U.S. for reasons of national security, it is a slap in the face,” he said. “And it adds to brewing disputes they have in competition and tax policy,” he added.

The Brussels-based expert said “there isn’t, for the moment, any real cooperation” between the United States and the EU on trade policy, and with Trump’s new move, the relations are certain to become confrontational. (NAN)

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