‘Trade wars are good, and easy to win’: Trump’s tariff threat sends shock waves around world – by Jonathan Stearns and Thomas Biesheuvel (Financial Post/Bloomberg – March 2, 2018)

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Trump’s aggressive stance has stoked fears of trade retaliation and roiled global markets. Here are the developments so far

After President Donald Trump said the U.S. plans to impose 25 per cent tariffs on steel imports and 10 per cent on aluminum, the shock waves are being felt around the world. Asia’s up in arms, the European Union and Canada are pushing back, and there are plenty of forecasts that U.S. consumers are set to pay a whole bunch more for all sorts of purchases. Think beer cans to autos.

While the exact form of the curbs remains unclear — especially whether U.S. allies will win exemptions — the reaction on Friday from outside the world’s biggest economy has been largely negative. Beyond metals, the biggest risk is a tit-for-tat trade war, which draws in other products, possibly foods. We’re following developments here. The time-stamps are New York.

Donald Trump’s plan to curb U.S. imports of steel on national-security grounds threatens the foundations of the World Trade Organization, warned the European Steel Association.

“This whole issue can blow up the WTO,” Axel Eggert, the industry group’s director general, said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Brussels. “This is not about national security. This is about propping up a U.S. industry that isn’t viable.” He urged Trump to rethink his tariff plan and work with the EU to curb steel overcapacity in China, the biggest producer.

In Berlin, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief spokesman said that the German government opposes Trump’s plans. “Such tariffs will severely impact our steel and aluminum industry,” Steffen Seibert told reporters.

For the rest of this article: http://business.financialpost.com/news/economy/eu-steel-group-says-global-order-shaken-by-trump-tariffs-update

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