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President Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum to take effect

There's a new tariff in town. President Trump officially unveiled promised tariffs on foreign metals Thursday, defying allies, rivals and members of his own party alike. The steep levies — 25% on imported steel and 10% on aluminum — will go in to effect in 15 days, and include temporary exemptions for Canada and Mexico. Other countries would be able to negotiate exclusions, Trump said. The protectionist duties, which Trump boasted fulfilled a campaign promise, are needed because he said the U.S. has been “ravaged by aggressive foreign trade practices.”
“Our industries have been targeted for years and years, decades in fact, by unfair foreign trade practices leading to the shuttered plants and mills, the laying off of millions of workers and the decimation of entire communities,” Trump said as a group of steel and aluminum workers stood close by at the White House. In a hat tip to his dark and haunting Inauguration Day speech, Trump called the struggles of domestic steel and aluminum industry a “travesty.” “Our factories were left to rot and rust all over the place,” Trump said. “Thriving communities were turned into ghost towns.” Republican lawmakers, business leaders and allies warning of trade wars all attempted to caution the President against imposing the tariffs.
“We urge you to reconsider the idea of broad tariffs to avoid unintended negative consequences to the U.S. economy and its workers,” more than 100 House Republicans wrote in a letter to the President on Thursday. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) called the tariffs a “marriage of two lethal poisons to economic growth — protectionism and uncertainty” and vowed to draft legislation to nullify the duties. Trump said the exclusions for Canada and Mexico could come to an end, if talks stall to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump will also have the power exclude or add countries to the list at will and be able to raise or lower levies on case-by-case basis.
Australia was singled out as an example of another country that could be exempt due to a trade surplus. “We’re going to be very flexible,” Trump said. “At the same time, we have some friends and some enemies where we have been tremendously taken advantage of over the years.” The President then invited several steel and aluminum workers to speak.The president of United Steelworkers Local 2227, Scott Sauritch, stood up and explained that his father lost his job during the 1980s due to foreign imports coming in to the U.S.
He noted that his father’s “story didn’t end” while thanking the President for his tariffs. “Your father Herman is looking down,” Trump said. “He’s very proud of you.” “He’s still alive,” Sauritch responded, drawing laughs from the other workers in the Roosevelt Room. “Then he’s even more proud of you,” Trump joked, putting his hand to the side of his mouth. Vice President Pence, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross all joined the group for the signing. While the protectionist plans could boost employment in steel and aluminum by 33,000, they could cost the U.S. 179,000 jobs in other areas of the economy, according to a report by consulting firm The Trade Partnership. “We’re on the verge of a painful and stupid trade war,” cautioned Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.).