While worries about a global trade war have contributed to a sell-off on Wall Street, President Donald Trump shrugged off the concerns in a post to Twitter early Friday.
“When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win,” Trump tweeted.
He added, “Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore-we win big. It’s easy!”
The tweet from Trump came after he announced Thursday the U.S. will impose new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
Trump indicated that he plans to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports.
In a subsequent tweet, Trump argued the U.S. has no choice but to implement “reciprocal taxes” due to the nation’s large trade deficit.
“When a country Taxes our products coming in at, say, 50%, and we Tax the same product coming into our country at ZERO, not fair or smart,” Trump tweeted.
He added, “We will soon be starting RECIPROCAL TAXES so that we will charge the same thing as they charge us. $800 Billion Trade Deficit-have no choice!”
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.
In a statement, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the EU regrets the move by Trump, which he claimed would “only aggravate matters.”
“We will not sit idly while our industry is hit with unfair measures that put thousands of European jobs at risk,” Juncker said. “I had the occasion to say that the EU would react adequately and that’s what we will do. The EU will react firmly and commensurately to defend our interests.
He added, “The Commission will bring forward in the next few days a proposal for WTO-compatible countermeasures against the U.S. to rebalance the situation.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying stated China’s position that Trump’s “unreasonable and excessive” use of trade remedy measures will not help revitalize relevant industries in the U.S.
“Rather, it will affect its employment and jeopardize the welfare of American consumers,” Hua said. “China will take necessary measures to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests.”
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland also criticized the move, noting that Canada is the number one customer of American steel.
“We will always stand up for Canadian workers and Canadian businesses,” Freeland said. “Should restrictions be imposed on Canadian steel and aluminum products, Canada will take responsive measures to defend its trade interests and workers.”
Juncker and Freeland both dismissed the Trump administration’s claims that the tariffs are in response to national security concerns.
Earlier this month, Commerce Department investigations concluded that the quantities and circumstances of steel and aluminum imports “threaten to impair the national security.”
The investigations into the impact of steel and aluminum imports on national security were carried out under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross subsequently recommended that Trump impose quotas or tariffs on steel and aluminum imports to remove the threatened impairment to national security.
The issue of tariffs reportedly led to a dispute among White House officials, with protectionists such as Ross and trade advisor Peter Navarro pitted against more globalist voices like chief economic advisor Gary Cohn.
(Photo: Gage Skidmore)