President Donald Trump says the United States will impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports next week.
At a meeting Thursday with top executives from U.S. steel and aluminum companies, he announced tafiffs of 25 percent on steel products and 10 percent on aluminum.
Trump said in a Twitter post Thursday morning that “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.” He continued, “We must not let our country, companies and workers be taken advantage of any longer. We want free, fair and SMART TRADE!”
The Trump administration has shown its desire to impose tariffs on various metal imports since last year.
Earlier this month, the Commerce Department announced that it found “the quantities and circumstances of steel and aluminum imports threaten to impair national security.”
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recommended that President Trump impose a tariff of at least 53 percent on all steel imports from China and 11 other countries, and a tariff of 23.6 percent on all aluminum products from China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela and Vietnam.
On Thursday China’s top economic advisor Liu He is scheduled to visit the White House to meet with top administration officials, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Trump’s chief economic advisor Gary Cohn.
A White House official speaking on condition of anonymity told Reuters that they expect a “frank exchange of views” and will focus on “the substantive issues.”
Ryan L. Hass, David M. Rubenstein Fellow at John L. Thornton China Center and the Center for East Asia Policy Studies at Brookings Institution told VOA he believes in the best case scenario, Liu’s visit will assure both sides that “they are committed to solving underlying problems in the bilateral trade relationship.”
Hass noted, “In such a scenario, both sides would agree on the problems that need to be addressed, the framework for addressing them, and the participants and timeline for concluding negotiations.”
Hass said if Liu He’s visit fails to exceed the White House’s expectations, then the probability of unilateral U.S. trade actions against China will go up. “If the U.S. takes unilateral actions, China likely will respond proportionately, and that could set off a tit-for-tat cycle leading to a trade war,” he said.