How will Trump tariffs work? Will they likely succeed?


How will Trump tariffs work? Will they likely succeed?

US President Donald Trump slapped steep trade tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum Thursday, March 8, drawing sharp protests from allies at home and overseas amid fears of a global trade war.

"The process to negotiate a modernized NAFTA continues its course, independent of the (metal tariffs) or any other internal policy measure that the government of the United States takes", the Mexican statement said.

President Trump's departing economic adviser "may be a globalist", but the commander-in-chief doesn't hold it against him.

More significantly, Trump will soon decide how to handle a major pending trade case involving China's abuse of intellectual property rights.

"We're comfortable that we're going to manage through this so that it is not detrimental to our growth projections", he told Fox Business.

Trump's latest unilateral moves come at a moment of vulnerability for the president. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, floated the possibility of legislation to limit Trump's ability to impose tariffs or to require congressional approval, though there's no indication any such plan could garner the necessary veto-proof margin for passage.

Trump danced around the question of whether the tariff threat will be used to bully Canada and Mexico at the NAFTA bargaining table. "They have total, total control over him", Trump said of Cruz.

Trump's early appointments to key Cabinet positions and to the White House policy-making apparatus were often stellar.

That sentiment was echoed at the Absolute Return Symposium, a hedge fund conference in NY, where investors fretted about the loss of Cohn as a modifying influence on Trump's rhetoric and a bulwark against economic nationalism.

European Union trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom vowed to press for an EU exemption from USA tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum when she meets her American counterpart in Brussels on Saturday.

During the election, Trump's attacks on trade deals found great resonance in industrial areas of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin - key states that Trump won, sometimes surprisingly, en route to his Electoral College win.

"I think we all knew this was coming to an end someday", said Barry Bennett, a former Trump campaign aide.

Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist for Cox Automotive, said Thursday the tariff plan appears to lack a clear, long-term direction for trade strategy and poses "a big problem for the automotive industry".

Trump announced a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports. The tariffs, to take effect in 15 days, are created to reinvigorate those industries.

Paradoxically, Wall Street can take some comfort on trade from Trump's freewheeling operating style.

Recent actions by the Trump administration will also set back hopes of a successful renegotiation of the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS).

Unlike Cohn, Liddell might be more willing to cooperate with the president's populist policy agenda.