The Trump administration will not grant exemptions from its new aluminum and steel tariffs for allies such as Canada, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said Sunday, as he defended President Donald Trump’s sudden imposition of new trade premiums that are likely to hit Canada and Europe hardest.
“As soon as he starts exempting countries, he has to raise the tariff on everybody else,” Navarro said when asked about Canada and the European Union. “As soon as he exempts one country, his phone starts ringing with the heads of state of other countries.”
In a contentious interview with “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace, Navarro insisted that other countries won’t retaliate in a way that hurts U.S. consumers, something disputed by many economists and some Republican lawmakers.
“There are no downstream price effects on our industries that are significant,” Navarro said on Fox, one of several interviews he did Sunday as the administration sought to promote and defend a decision that appears likely to start a global trade war.
The biggest burden of Trump’s new tariffs would be borne by Canada, the largest U.S. trading partner. Canada is the largest exporter of steel and aluminum to the United States, supplying $7.2 billion worth of aluminum and $4.3 billion of steel last year. Overall, the United States runs a trade surplus with Canada, which buys $48 billion worth of U.S. automobiles and $40 billion of machinery, in addition to agricultural products.
The steel and aluminum tariffs would also hit Britain, Germany, South Korea, Turkey and Japan, countries with which the United States has close national security ties.
The E.U. has threatened retaliatory tariffs on U.S. manufactured goods, including motorcycles and blue jeans, and the worry is that the tit-for-tat will harm American businesses that export, while raising costs for businesses that rely on a global supply chain.