Justin Trudeau visiting Hamilton to show support for steel workers

Former prime minister Paul Keating has praised Donald Trump

Massive overproduction by China has flooded world markets with steel and kept world prices lower than they would have been.

USA automakers, in general, have much at stake as Trump makes decisions on problems such as the pending renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement and an evaluation of fuel economy requirements through 2025.

Trump said the US steel and aluminum industry is "a fraction of what it once was".

China's metals industry issued the country's most explicit threat yet in the row, urging on Friday for the government to retaliate by targeting USA coal - a sector that is central to Mr Trump's political base and his election pledge to restore American industries and blue-collar jobs.

"We're going to ensure that Canadian steel is Canadian steel", he said at Dofasco, where he also promised unspecified measures to better protect workers' pensions where companies go under, downsize substantially, or are otherwise bought out.

For now, Canada and Mexico may be exempt to allow "ongoing discussions" about trade.

Since then, our two economies have become increasingly more integrated - underpinned by well-established and lucrative supply chains. The tariffs will increase the cost of manufacturing in the USA, reducing output and employment in industries using these metals.

A European Commission source told the News that no formal meetings have been scheduled, but contact with the U.S.at multiple levels is expected this week to get more information on exclusions.

The so-called Section 301 investigation was formed to determine whether China's practices were "unreasonable or discriminatory and burden or restrict USA commerce".

This was announced by the South Korean delegation to the White House on Thursday, March 8, coming as a surprise to everyone, including the Trump administration.

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Develop an efficient process for USA companies to file exceptions for product exclusions. They are the visible beneficiaries of Trump's tariffs. Currently, we impose a 2.5 percent tariff on European cars, but they have a 10 percent tariff on ours.

The list covers $850 million worth of steel products that Trump says he is supporting with his tariffs, with other large targets including more than $500 million worth of bourbon in different sized containers, nearly $200 million in sea-going motorboats and motor yachts, nearly $200 million in "eye makeup preparations" and more than $140 million in "lip make-up preparations".

"Notably, China exported only $976 million of steel and $1.8 billion of aluminum products to the United States, or just six per cent of the $46 billion of USA steel and aluminum imports over which Trump is imposing tariffs", Bown writes.

Tariff opponents argue that US military needs for steel and aluminum amount to only 3 percent of domestic production. Why in the world would the USA steel and aluminum industries press the president to levy heavy tariffs? There has also been a sense of resignation in Washington over this issue - a feeling that there isn't much America can do about it. Nonsense. Americans are better off trusting Trump on trade.

For some background, the United States imports steel from over one hundred countries; they bring in four times more steel from overseas than they export.

China's aluminium output is a fraction of steel's size at about 36 million tonnes previous year. Most economists see losses to all sides.

The tariffs would cost lost trade worth $2.6 billion a year for the European Union and $1.1 billion for South Korea, according to Chad Bown, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Xi has charmed the trousers off Trump, who appears envious of the Chinese government's military parades, press controls and disregard for human rights. "That's why we - if possible - want to avoid a trade war".

Trump has long singled out China as being unfair in its trade practices and for dumping cheap steel on the global markets, depressing prices. But neither am I suggesting that we cave into Trump's plainly bullyish tactics and threats of retaliation. That's now. But in a major military conflict, those needs would soar.

Peter McKenna is professor and chair of political science at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown.

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