JUDY WOODRUFF: President Trump promised during
the campaign to get tougher on trade, and today he took a major step by announcing new
tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. It has led some experts to warn of the possibility
of a much bigger trade war. But at a meeting with industry leaders, Mr.
Trump said the U.S. needs to crack down on countries flooding American markets with cheap
metals. And he told the business leaders that the
move would give them a big boost. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
Pretty much all of you will immediately be expanding if we give you that level playing
field, if we give you that help. And you’re going to hire more workers, and
your workers are going to be very happy. They’re going to be very, very happy. And, again, what’s been allowed to go on for
decades is disgraceful. It’s disgraceful. JUDY WOODRUFF: Mr. Trump said he would announce
which countries would be targeted next week. There would be 25 percent tariffs on steel
and 10 percent on aluminum. A number of Republican allies, including the
speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, took issue with the president’s decision. The president has repeatedly threatened to
take tougher measures against China. And the Wall Street Journal’s Greg Ip is here
now to explain what all of this might mean. Greg, thank you for being with us. Before we get into the reaction to all this,
including in the markets, what would tariffs at this level, 25 percent on steel, 10 percent
on aluminum, generally, what would that mean? GREG IP, The Wall Street Journal: Well, for
companies in the United States that make steel and aluminum, it’s great news. Those companies like Nucor or U.S. Steel or
Alcoa will have higher profit margins because they can sell their steel and aluminum at
higher prices. It’s good news for their workers. Those industries have lost a lot of workers
because of import penetration over the last 15 years. Fewer jobs will be lost. Maybe a few jobs will get some added. It’s good news for some parts of the country
where those mills are located. It’s bad news, though, for any company that
uses steel and aluminum. And that’s a lot of companies, way more companies
and workers than actually produce it. Automobiles, for example, aerospace, the companies
that make soda because of the soda cans, tinfoil. All the consumers, you and I will all pay
a tiny little bit more, maybe too little to notice, but, yes, we will pay more for those
products. JUDY WOODRUFF: And I was going to say, we
actually have some graphics showing some of that. And maybe we can show that to the audience
while we’re talking. But, in essence, so the president sees winners
in this country, but there are others who are worried that the reaction from abroad
is going to lead to harm for other parts of the American economy. GREG IP: Well, absolutely, and we have seen
this movie before. In 2002, President George W. Bush raised steel
tariffs, partly to protect workers in West Virginia. And the analysis of that decision later showed
it actually hurt the U.S. economy because it raised cost so much in industries that
use steel. Right now, people are worried not just about
the immediate impact on the U.S. industry, but what if all these other countries that
feel that we have treated them unfairly retaliate? So, not only are those effects hurting us
in terms of our consumption of those products, but our ability to sell to those other foreign
markets is affected. JUDY WOODRUFF: How much does that explain
what happened in the financial markets today? GREG IP: So, I think the negative impact on
the stock market reflects a couple things. First of all, a tiny bit of harm to U.S. growth,
a little bit of upward pressure on inflation, at a time when the Federal Reserve is already
talking about raising interest rates some more. Secondly, though, I think it also speaks to
the overall degree of uncertainty and concern about this administration. You know, for the first year of Trump’s presidency,
it was all about less regulation and less taxes. Business loved that. Now they’re seeing the less positive side
of it, more protectionism. At the same time, enormous conflict both within
the White House, within Trump’s own advisers, and between the administration and its allies
in business and the Republican Congress. JUDY WOODRUFF: And we were told that there
was serious disagreement inside the White House, as you are just suggesting, over this. And there was also confusion about whether
this was going to be announced today. We were told at one point it wasn’t, and then
the president announced it a few minutes later. GREG IP: Right. And, as you were saying, I think that some
of the details have yet to be heard. We don’t know specifically which countries
are going to be hit with tariffs, how long they will last. And it may be that there are other attenuating
factors that will come into play. So, this all creates a lot of uncertainty
around the decision JUDY WOODRUFF: All of which we will wait to
see. Greg Ip, thank you very much. GREG IP: All right, thanks for having me.

Tagged : # #

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *