Trump to Impose Sweeping Steel and Aluminum Tariffs
“We’re bringing it all back,” he added.
Friday morning, Mr. Trump tweeted that a trade war would be a positive development in the context of the United States’ current position with its trading partners.
Stocks fell in response to the potential tariffs, with declines in the industrial sector outpacing the overall market. The Standard & Poor’s 500 industrial sector was down 1.9 percent, compared with a decline of about 1.3 percent in the overall benchmark index. Shares of American automakers, all large consumers of steel and aluminum, declined, as did shares of Boeing, a large exporter that could be hurt if other nations retaliate against United States tariffs.
Mr. Trump’s announcement came despite months of heavy pushback from American companies that use metals in their products, like automakers and food packagers, and foreign officials, who warned that tariffs would strain relations and could prompt retaliatory trade actions. It also elicited a swift and severe response from Republican lawmakers, who said the action would ultimately hurt American companies, workers, consumers and the economy.
The announcement capped a frenetic and chaotic morning as Mr. Trump summoned more than a dozen executives from the steel and aluminum industry to the White House, raising expectations that he would announce his long-promised tariffs.
Mr. Trump raised the specter of action with an early morning Twitter post, saying: “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. We must not let our country, companies and workers be taken advantage of any longer.”
Yet the legal review of the trade measure had not been completed and, as of Thursday morning, White House advisers were still discussing various outcomes for tariff levels and which countries could be included, according to people familiar with the deliberations. Just an hour before Mr. Trump made his remarks, a White House spokeswoman said that no announcement was expected that morning.
Advisers have been bitterly divided over how to proceed on the tariffs, including whether to impose them broadly on all steel and aluminum imports, which would ensnare allies like the European Union and Canada, or whether to tailor them more narrowly to target specific countries.