Donald Trump doubled-down Friday on his proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, tweeting that “trade wars are good, and easy to win.”
Despite an international outcry Thursday, including a Beijing official denouncing the White House plan as “extremely stupid,” Trump posted:
“When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win.”
The president also referenced the country’s $100 billion trade deficit with Mexico, saying the only way to correct it was to stop trading with the country. “It’s easy,” he boasted.
Trump’s Thursday decision to impose a 25 percent levy on imports of steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum was met with widespread bafflement around the globe.
Stocks tumbled across Europe and Asia Friday over fears of a trade war. Steelmakers and manufacturers supplying U.S. companies were hit particularly hard, with Trump’s early morning tweet likely to spook the markets further.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Thursday he was “extremely concerned” by the move, and hoped for a reversal. “We need to do everything possible to avoid an international trade war,” he said.
Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, said the bloc “will react firmly and commensurately to defend our interests,” while Richard Warren, head of policy at UK Steel, dismissed the measures as “extremely blunt,” calling on Prime Minister Theresa May to push the EU for a “robust response.”
In Asia, Li Xinchuang, vice secretary general of the China Iron and Steel Association, called the decision “extremely stupid.”
“A desperate attempt by Trump to pander to his voters, which I think in fact runs counter to his ‘America First’ pledge. The U.S. is now setting a very, very bad example,” Li added.
Australian trade minister Steven Ciobo worried that “on the back of actions like this we could see retaliatory measures that are put in place by other major economies. That is in no-one’s interest.”
Cover image: U.S. President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with bipartisan members of the Congress at the Cabinet Room of the White House February 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. President Trump held a meeting with lawmakers to discuss school and community safety. (Alex Wong/Getty Images).