Trump Expected to Announce Stiff Steel, Aluminum Tariffs

President Donald Trump is set to announce steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports Thursday, people familiar with the matter said, in what would be one of his toughest actions yet to implement a hawkish trade agenda that risks antagonizing friends and foes alike.

Trump told aides he wants to announce tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum from all countries, according to two people who asked not to be identified because the deliberations aren’t public. One person said the details of the decision may still change, and it’s possible some countries may be granted exemptions.

“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,” Trump said in a Twitter posting Thursday. “We must not let our country, companies and workers be taken advantage of any longer. We want free, fair and SMART TRADE!”

Bloomberg’s Enda Curran reports on trade tensions between the U.S. and China over potential tariffs.

(Source: Bloomberg)

Then president has been considering a range of options to curb imports of steel and aluminum, after the Commerce Department concluded shipments of the two metals hurt U.S. national security. Leading up to the decision, the president told confidantes he was leaning toward a 24 percent tariff on steel, the harshest of the alternatives given to him by Commerce.

The U.S. move may provoke retaliation from China, the world’s biggest steel and aluminum producer, at a time when President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser, Liu He, has been dispatched the U.S. in attempt defuse tensions. China has already launched a probe into U.S. imports of sorghum, and is studying whether to restrict shipments of U.S. soybeans — targets that could hurt Trump’s support in some politically important farming states.

Asian steel stocks declined. Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. and JFE Holdings Inc. slumped in Tokyo while Baoshan Iron & Steel Co. fell in Shanghai, Hesteel Co. retreated in Shenzhen and BlueScope Steel Ltd. dropped in Sydney.

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