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'EU Thought Nothing's Going to Happen': Trump Keeps Promise on Tariffs - But at What Cost?

06-01-2018

WASHINGTON – For President Donald Trump, cracking down on trade imbalances that hurt the US economy is a campaign promise kept, but it may put a pain in the purses of Americans until new deals can be worked out.

Today, the Trump administration is imposing tariffs on aluminum and steel from America's allies: Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

"Let me be clear. These tariffs are totally unacceptable," said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Back in March, the president gave these nations more time to negotiate, but with no deal, the president stayed true to his deadline.

"I think the European Union thought surely this is another president, an American president bloviating over trade and in the end nothing's going to happen," Dan Celia with Financial Issues Stewardship Ministries told CBN News.

"We've been taken advantage of by the world. That's not going to be happening anymore," vowed President Trump.

Meanwhile, some of America's allies are threatening retaliation by targeting US products ranging from blue jeans to toilet paper and peanut butter to pork.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told CBN News the US is ready.

"We're working on a package here and there are authorities within the secretariat of USDA in order to utilize programs and funds that would support farmers if they are harmed and damaged by trade disputes," he said.

The news caused the Dow to dip 250 points Thursday, which is a less dramatic reaction than the market had after fears of a trade war with China.

In Washington, a number of Republicans criticized the president's move.

"At this time of economic growth, the last thing we should be waging is a trade war," Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) said in a statement. 

However, some economists say members of Congress have sat on their hands for decades allowing huge trade imbalances to rack up.

"They're falling prey to the lobbyists who are coming out of the woodwork on this," added Celia.

French President Emmanuel Macron calls the president's move "illegal" and a "mistake," but Mexico's economic minister appeared less concerned while talking to reporters Thursday.

"No, I don't really think this is by no means the beginning of a trade war," said Mexican Economic Minister Ildefonso Guarjardo. 

The tariffs come just as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross leaves for China to try and defuse a trade war with the world's second-largest economy.
     

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