WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump announced on Thursday he would impose hefty tariffs on imported steel and aluminum to protect U.S. producers, risking retaliation from major trade partners like China, Europe and neighboring Canada as well as helping to trigger a large selloff on Wall Street.
Trump said the duties of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum would be formally announced next week although White House officials later said some details still needed to be ironed out.
Trump believes the tariffs will safeguard American jobs but many economists say the impact of price increases for consumers of steel and aluminum, such as the auto and oil industries, will be to destroy more jobs than they create.
“We’re going to build our steel industry back and our aluminum industry back,” he said. News of the tariffs drove the stocks of U.S. domestic steel and aluminum makers sharply higher, but also hit sentiment on Wall Street due to the potential impact of higher costs on consumers.
The move came after what one person with direct knowledge of the discussions described as a night of “chaos” in the White House due to frequent switching of positions in the administration.