Trump Has Been Playing Right Into China’s Hands
Author: Catherine Rampell
If this is how we show China who’s boss, China has just learned it has a pretty dumb boss.
On Thursday, President Trump signed sweeping new tariffs on steel and aluminum, against the urging of economists, allies and most of the manufacturing, retail and home-building industries. This policy will likely destroy American jobs both in industries that use steel and aluminum and in ones that may soon be hit by retaliatory measures from other countries.
But no matter all that. Trump really, really wants to stick it to China! Too bad this won’t stick much.
U.S. steel jobs have been mostly lost due to technological change (i.e., robots, not China). U.S. aluminum jobs have been mostly lost to places with cheaper electricity (i.e., Iceland, which is coincidentally also not China).
Right now China isn’t even among the top 10 producers of U.S. steel imports. The top country we import from is Canada, which apparently should be grateful it has been given a reprieve from these tariffs “at least at this time.”