Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum imports signal that the US is withdrawing from its role as the leader and champion of international free trade, writes John Cassidy of The New Yorker. Besides being a slap to historic trade allies, this decision goes against a system that American leaders worked hard to create over decades. It also risks a trade war that could have bad consequences for the American economy. History suggests that trade wars hurt all sides involved. Trump isn’t wrong about unfair trade practices by countries like China. But this decision should have been made together with the WTO, not by America alone.
The president is right to impose tariffs that will prevent the extinction of the American steel industry, believes Harry J. Kazianis of Fox News. Needing to rely on foreign steel could be a significant drawback in times of war and conflict. Local steel production currently fulfills only 10% of our demand. This policy also stops the massive job losses in the industry seen over past years. Additionally, Trump’s proposal is far from unique, both his predecessors enacted similar tariffs on foreign steel. The European Union imposed a 73% tax on Chinese steel not many years ago. Trump is right to enact these tariffs, the criticism of him has been excessive.