×

White House: No exemptions from steel, aluminum tariffs

  • President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with steel and aluminum executives at the White House, Thursday. AP Photo

  • Steel coils sit on wagons when leaving the thyssenkrupp steel factory in Duisburg, Germany, Friday, March 2, 2018. U.S. President Donald Trump risks sparking a trade war with his closest allies if he goes ahead with plans to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, German officials and industry groups warned Friday. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner) Martin Meissner

  • A worker loads steel products onto a vehicle at a steel market in Fuyang in central China's Anhui province Friday, March 2, 2018. China has expressed "grave concern" about a U.S. trade policy report that pledges to pressure Beijing but had no immediate response to President Donald Trump's plan to hike tariffs on steel and aluminum. The Commerce Ministry said Friday that Beijing has satisfied its trade obligations and appealed to Washington to settle disputes through negotiation (Chinatopix Via AP)

  • The logo for U.S. Steel appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Friday, March 2, 2018. President Donald Trump on Friday insisted "trade wars are good, and easy to win," a bold claim that will likely find many skeptics, including those on Wall Street and even some Republicans. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) Richard Drew

  • A light turned red in front of the Krupp Mannesmann steel factory in Duisburg, Germany, Friday, March 2, 2018. U.S. President Donald Trump risks sparking a trade war with his closest allies if he goes ahead with plans to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, German officials and industry groups warned Friday. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner) Martin Meissner

  • FILE - In this Sept. 22, 2005 file photo a steel worker takes a sample at the blast furnace of ThyssenKrupp steel company in Duisburg, western Germany. Ordering combative action on foreign trade, President Donald Trump has declared that the U.S. will impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, escalating tensions with China and other trading partners and raising the prospect of higher prices for American consumers and companies. (AP Photo/Frank Austin, file) FRANK AUGSTEIN



Associated Press
Sunday, March 04, 2018

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s administration appears unbowed by broad domestic and international criticism of his planned import tariffs on steel and aluminum, saying Sunday that the president is not planning on exempting any countries from the stiff duties.

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said: “At this point in time there’s no country exclusions.”

Trump’s announcement Thursday that he would impose tariffs of 25 percent and 10 percent, respectively, on imported steel and aluminum, roiled markets, rankled allies and raised prospects for a trade war. While his rhetoric has been focused on China, the duties will also cover significant imports from Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Japan and the European Union.

Addressing criticism of the proposed action, Trump tweeted Sunday that American “Steel and Aluminum industries are dead. Sorry, it’s time for a change!”

The Pentagon had recommended that Trump only pursue targeted tariffs, so as not to upset American partners abroad. But Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Sunday that was not the direction the president would take.

“He’s talking about a fairly broad brush,” Ross said on ABC’s “This Week.” He rejected threats of retaliation from American allies as “pretty trivial.”

Few issues could blur the lines of partisanship in Trump-era Washington. Trade is one of them.

Labor unions and liberal Democrats are in the unusual position of applauding Trump’s approach, while Republicans and an array of business groups are warning of dire economic and political consequences if he goes ahead with the tariffs.

Trade politics often cut along regional, rather than ideological, lines, as politicians reflect the interests of the hometown industries and workers. But rarely does a debate open so wide a rift between a president and his party — leaving him almost exclusively with support from his ideological opposites.

“Good, finally,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat and progressive as he cheered Trump’s move. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, a Democrat who has called for Trump to resign, agreed.

“I urge the administration to follow through and to take aggressive measures to ensure our workers can compete on a level playing field,” Casey tweeted.

The president wasn’t backing down, at least on Twitter, where he posted this message: “Trade wars are good, and easy to win.”