According to unnamed confidants who spoke to the media last week, United States president Donald Trump is planning to levy tariffs upon aluminium and steel imports that are harsher than recommendations given by the Commerce Department last month.
Three White House insiders told Bloomberg late last week that Trump is leaning toward saddling steel imports into the U.S. with a 24-percent tariff, while levying a 10-percent tariff across the board on imported aluminium, the latter of which is a full 2.5 percent above the Commerce Department’s recommendations.
When queried about such rumors, officials at the White House were tight lipped. White House spokesman Raj Shah released a statement neither confirming nor denying the rumors.
“As with every decision he makes, the security of the American people and the American economy will be the president’s primary concerns while he considers his potential options. President Trump is committed to achieving fair and reciprocal trade relationships that protect the American worker and grow our economy.”
Though many American aluminium industry stakeholders have long demanded measures by the government to balance out unfair trade practices engaged in by China (among others), opponents say such measures will do little but make prices rise for aluminium products and products that contain aluminium, including automobiles, beer, soft drinks, foil, and other household staples.
Further, political experts warn that such measures may well be the spark that inflames the dry tinders of a trade war. They believe Canada is likely to take an extremely dim view of the situation at best, while China has gone on record as recently as last week asserting their right to retaliate if they feel the presence of a threat.
Although no official announcement has been made, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser Liu He is expected to journey to D.C. on Tuesday to discuss trade tensions between his country and the U.S. His visit marks the second trip to the States made by the CCP’s Central Politburo this month, as the PRC’s State Councilor Yang Jiechi represented the 25-member body during his visit earlier in February.