In applying tariffs to steel imports from abroad, the Trump administration upends the international order for short-term economic benefits, holds Jennifer A. Hillman of The New York Times. World Trade Organization members have long refrained from using national security as a reason to apply tariffs. In doing so, the US starts a race to the bottom, where other countries might follow suit to enrich themselves. This hurts the international rules that prevent trade wars, for example. Already China has responded to Trump with its own tariffs, while Europe is making plans to do so as well. These tariffs create a lose-lose situation.
Steel and aluminum tariffs are a necessity to protect US industries and workers, argues Jeff Ferry of The Hill. America’s ability to produce these metals locally is as important to national security as it is to the economy. Steel is crucial for the military to build everything from guns to missiles to ships. Aluminum is crucial in airplanes and the country’s electric grid. Self-sufficiency is key here. Already new steel mills are planned in Kentucky, Florida and Illinois, creating hundreds of jobs. Europe has long protected its steel industry. The world has changed, we face a global surplus, and the US has to protect its steel and aluminum capabilities.