It’s time to end the US steel and aluminum tariffs – by Marc L. Busch (The Hill – August 9, 2021)

In an interview with Bloomberg last week, Sec. of Commerce Gina Raimondo said that U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs had done the trick. Folks were back to work, and producers had increased output.

What about the threat that Europe will increase its retaliation by year’s end if the Biden administration doesn’t end the tariffs? Raimondo said the U.S. is willing to deal but that “to simply say ‘no tariffs’ is not the solution.” Actually, it is.

Raimondo’s statement is the stuff of negotiations. After all, the U.S. isn’t going to start its talks with the European Union (EU) by unilaterally disarming.

Her answer is worrying, however, because it suggests that the Biden administration underestimates the problem. It’s not just that the tariffs are doing more economic harm than good. Raimondo is wrong about this. It’s that these tariffs are far more costly than most precisely because they’re about national security.

Had Trump simply used a “safeguard” instead of Section 232, these steel and aluminum tariffs would never have made headlines.

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