President Trump was standing on the banks of the Ohio River, and as barges loaded with West Virginia coal floated by, he noted that half the United States’ steel is produced within 250 miles and told the crowd that soon “the steel folks are going to be very happy.”
“It’ll be the first big one,” said William Reinsch, a veteran trade specialist in Washington, D.C., noting that till now, Trump’s tough talk on trade has been just that, mostly talk.
It’s one thing to impose tariffs on China and even Turkey, a NATO partner, but quite another if Trump decides to apply tariffs or quotas broadly, on friends and allies alike, said Reinsch, the trade expert at the Washington, D.C.-based Stimson Center think tank.
“We’re doing this at the same time we’re trying to get Korea to make operational the U.S. anti-missile system,” he said. “We’re going to push them on steel at the same time we’re trying to get Japan to negotiate a free-trade agreement, and EU the same thing.” There will be consequences, he said.
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