Donald Trump said to favour stiffest US steel, aluminum tariffs

US President Donald Trump has told confidants that he wants to impose the harshest tariffs on steel and aluminum imports recommended by the Commerce Department, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Mr Trump has said he wants to slap a global tariff of 24 per cent on steel imports, the most severe of three options presented to him in a report in January.

He is also considering as much as a 10 per cent duty on all aluminum entering the US, which would be more than 2.5 percentage points higher than the harshest of Commerce’s recommendations.

The process is ongoing, White House officials said on Friday (Feb 23).

AK Steel Holding Corp. jumped more than 6 per cent in late trading, joining a rally among metals producers on the news. Steel Dynamics Inc., Nucor Corp., Alcoa Corp. and Century Aluminum Co. also advanced.

Tariffs on such widely used commodities could spark retaliation from nations including China and allies like Canada, while potentially raising prices on everything from cars to beer cans.

Some political analysts and economists have speculated the president would take a targeted approach to the tariffs, and he is under pressure from members of his own Republican party to refrain from measures that may antagonise other countries and disrupt supply chains.

“As with every decision he makes, the security of the American people and the American economy will be the president’s primary concerns while he considers his potential options,” White House spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement.

“President Trump is committed to achieving fair and reciprocal trade relationships that protect the American worker and grow our economy.”

SECURITY THREAT

The Commerce Department concluded in a report last month that steel and aluminum imports imperil US national security. Commerce recommended a range of options for the president, including imposing tariffs for certain nations and setting import quotas.

 

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