Trump signs off on tariffs on foreign steel, aluminum

Gary Cohn to resign as WH economic adviser

Trump sticking with 25 percent steel tariff, vows flexibility later

He also noted a "shared commitment to supporting each other in addressing national security concerns, our shared commitment to addressing global excess capacity for producing steel, the physical proximity of our respective industrial bases [and] the robust economic integration between our countries".

Earlier, during a cabinet meeting, Trump vowed flexibility on the trade barriers, telling reporters that he could change the tariffs "up or down depending on the country".

"It's really an assault on our country", Trump said. If there is a failure of imagination in the USA policy community, it will not only undermine their efforts but also increase the private sector's burden to help restore rapidly dwindling American credibility in the region and ensure the real economy is not "Trumped" by what history is sure to judge as an unsustainable detour.

Canada appears to have dodged a protectionist bullet, as one of only two countries to receive a provisional exemption from steel and aluminum tariffs set to rip into America's trading relationships around the globe.

Trump said the United States needs to increase domestic steel production from its present 73% of capacity to approximately an 80% operating rate, which is the minimum rate needed for the long-term viability of the industry.

Steelmakers in Hamilton and elsewhere in Canada have dodged Donald Trump's tariffs for now, but problems in doing future business in the USA are far from over, analysts say.

I mean, this would be like the referee being ignored in an athletic match, and the match goes on.

"I've been talking about this a long time, a lot longer than my political career", he said.

"Significant damage in South Korea's steel exports to the United States seems unavoidable", said Paik's statement.

Some products under consideration are largely produced in constituencies controlled by Trump's Republican Party. Since Feb. 28, the day before Trump's initial tariff announcement, the small-cap Russell 2000 has climbed about 4 percent compared with a almost 1 percent rise for the S&P 500, the large-cap benchmark index peppered with multi-national companies.

But despite industry support, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce raised the specter of a global trade war.

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of IL said Trump's action was "like dropping a bomb on a flea" and could carry "huge unintended consequences for American manufacturers who depend on imported materials". Those prices would then cascade through the economy to hit consumers. "We will be doing something with them".

The move, which fulfills a Trump campaign promise, has been widely criticized by economists who say it is certain to increase costs to US consumers on items such as automobiles, household appliances and even energy, due to higher costs for pipeline construction. But the mixture of mercantilism and unpredictable drama will impose a long-term penalty on US leadership in the region.

Stocks ended the day higher after the announcement, with investors relieved by the carved out exceptions for key allies.

Watch above, via The White House.

"Our industries have been targeted for years and years-decades, in fact-by unfair foreign trade practices leading to shuttered plants and mills, the laying off of millions of workers and the decimation of entire communities", Trump said.

But the tariffs are not being welcomed quite so joyfully just a mile down the road, where a company called Steel Smith, which specialises in manufacturing and constructing steel buildings, is erecting a structure on the side of a factory. A warning issued by the European Union on Tuesday stated that it would respond with its own 25% tariff to hit 3.5 billion of USA goods.

Even as Trump approved the tariffs, 11 partners in the Asia-Pacific were in Santiago, Chile, to sign a trade deal embraced by Barack Obama but rejected by Trump.

He said it was "vital" the European Union and United Kingdom worked with the U.S. administration on exemptions to the tariff.

"This has been a true Team Canada effort", said Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, also crediting provincial premiers, businesses and labour leaders.

Canada is the largest supplier of both steel and aluminum to the US.

She said Canada planned to keep this issue separate from NAFTA negotiations, as it has done with disputes over softwood lumber, paper, and Bombardier.

The White House was left scrambling to catch up following Trump's shock move last week, as top economic advisor Gary Cohn - who opposed it - quit in protest.

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