Following conflicting reports out of the White House, President Donald Trump announced Thursday the U.S. will impose new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
Trump told metals industry executives at a White House meeting that he would sign an order formally imposing the new sanctions next week.
“Sometime next week we’ll be signing it in,” Trump said. “And you’re going to have protection for the first time in a long time.”
Trump indicated that he plans to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports.
An apparent dispute about the tariffs among White House officials led to confusion about the president’s plans earlier in the day.
Initial reports said Trump would announce the tariffs, although officials later said that the announcement would be delayed.
The debate over the tariffs reportedly pitted protectionists such as trade advisor Peter Navarro and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross against more globalist voices like chief economic advisor Gary Cohn.
Trump hinted at taking executive action to protect the steel and aluminum industries in a post on Twitter earlier in the day.
“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 tweeted.
He added, “We must not let our country, companies and workers be taken advantage of any longer. We want free, fair and SMART TRADE!”
The tariffs are likely to benefit U.S. steel and aluminum producers, although some officials have warned of retaliation by the European Union and China.
(Photo: Gage Skidmore)