Donald Trump

Trump puts tariffs on steel and aluminium for EU, Canada, Mexico

Here's why this is slightly scarier than most economics news

He's only gone and done it. To the surprise of even his own party, Trump has put tariffs on steel and aluminium from the EU, Canada, and Mexico.

What it means: Trump says this is about 'national security'. He wants to protect American jobs and manufacturers, and redress the balance in trade between the US and its partners so that it's selling as much to them as it's buying from them (in economics words, that's 'closing the deficit').

Sadly, pretty much no-one seems to think this move is going to do much good for the people it's allegedly trying to protect. With these taxes, it's no longer going to be profitable for the EU, Canada, and Mexico to sell steel and aluminum to America. That's a risk to a lot of jobs involved in processing the steel they currently import. It also means Americans will probably end up paying around 10 per cent more for steel, because supply will be so low (so the little steel that's left is in high demand).

Plus, all of the targeted countries are retaliating with their own tariffs on American goods – everything from blueberries to dishwasher detergents to Harley Davidsons will have a big tax added to their price tag abroad, which'll be bad news for producers of those goods in America trying to make a sale.

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