Donald Trump

‘Trade wars are good and easy to win’: Trump defends steel, aluminium tariff measures amid global outrage

After weeks of rumours about his administration’s intentions, he announced he would sign off on measures designed to protect American producers next week

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 March, 2018, 9:39pm
UPDATED : Friday, 23 March, 2018, 12:05pm

US President Donald Trump spoke out defiantly on Friday against global criticism of his plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, seeming to welcome the idea of a trade war.

“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,” Trump wrote in an early morning tweet.

“Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade any more – we win big. It’s easy!” the president wrote.

“We must protect our country and our workers. Our steel industry is in bad shape. IF YOU DON’T HAVE STEEL, YOU DON’T HAVE A COUNTRY!”

After weeks of rumours about his administration’s intentions, Trump on Thursday announced he would sign off on measures designed to protect US producers next week.

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The tariffs – 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium – cover two materials that are the lifeblood of the construction and manufacturing sectors.

The announcement was greeted with fury within key US trading allies such as Canada, the EU, Australia and Mexico, as well as rival China.

It also caused jitters across global stock markets.

Someone tell Trump the trade war is over. China won

The Japanese government – one of the US’ key allies in the region – on Friday defended its steel and aluminium exports to America after Trump announced the tariffs.

“We don’t think imports from Japan, an ally, have any effect at all on US national security,” Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko told a press conference.

Trump has not yet mentioned which countries will be subject to the tariffs, and Japan wants to be made an exception.

Seko said Japan will communicate its stance to the United States while gathering more information about the proposed tariffs.

“The full picture and details of these measures are still completely unclear,” he said.

Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said Japan will “watch closely to see what specific kind of system this might be, and what effect it could have on the global economy and our economy.”

In 2017, Japan exported an estimated 1.78 million tonnes of steel products to the US, making it the seventh-largest exporter, according to US data.

Additional reporting by Associated Press