Canada, the top supplier of steel and aluminum to the U.S. markets, has been temporarily exempted from the tariffs.
His decision to threaten Canada and Mexico with steep tariffs on two metals unless they give him everything he wants in the NAFTA negotiations is essentially blackmail.
Trump's tariffs, like his hardline NAFTA demands, have the prospective to turn the internationally integrated auto industry upside down.
Besides threatening the bottom line of a business with an average salary of $75,000, the tariffs also stand to harm CSI's customers by driving up costs, executives said, pointing to a study that found one steel industry job supports seven non-steel jobs. One recommendation that was floated is restricting imports of steel and aluminum to 63 per cent of 2017 levels.
"Without the capacity cutting, there would have been much more production than there is now", said Wang Suzhen, an analyst for Mysteel, a news service that follows the Chinese industry.
Flake warned on the Senate floor that the tariffs risk a reversal of recent economic gains, adding: "We in Congress simply can not be complicit as this administration courts economic disaster in this fashion".
These tariffs were controversial both at home and overseas because, even as they helped steelmakers, they squeezed steel users, such as the auto industry.
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"In some places, trade has been blamed for the pains of globalization, others use it as a scapegoat and insist that we can hide behind walls and borders", EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said at a conference in Brussels on Monday.
For a guy who has supposedly mastered "The Art of the Deal", Trump should know this is a failing strategy. It will also consider filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization, or WTO, through worldwide cooperation.
Historically proponents of free trade, several Republicans dubbed the measures "stupid" and "misguided" - if the United States increases the cost of both materials, they hold, American producers of vehicles and other products will suffer setbacks on the worldwide playing field, and consumers will pay more. "Thriving communities turned into ghost towns", Trump said at a White House ceremony to sign the tariffs.
If hurting Canada is Trump's best strategy for intimidating China, our next step should be maple-syrup taxes.
But executives at the Fontana steel manufacturer said the tariff, meant to protect American steel production, poses a unique burden to their business, one that won't be faced by other US steel manufacturers.
Right now China isn't even among the top 10 producers of US steel imports. Instead of letting United States metal makers charge higher prices to other American industries, the government could focus on helping to raise exports. So Europe can continue with its higher tariffs on US cars, so long as it does the same to Japanese cars. All told, 11 nations impose tariffs on America's Harley-Davidson motorcycles with engines over 800cc: India at 100 percent; China at 60 percent; and Thailand at 30 percent. Trump has said repeatedly that he wants to protect American manufacturing squeezed by foreign competition, and US steel certainly fits that profile.
Xi has charmed the trousers off Trump, who appears envious of the Chinese government's military parades, press controls and disregard for human rights.
China is estimated to be pirating more than a half trillion dollars' worth of American technology, inventions, drugs, vaccines and computer software each year.
Yes, America needs steel and aluminum imports.
The writer is blog editor for the United Steel Workers.