Trump Imposes Tariffs on Previously Excluded Allies

Another week, another threat of a trade war. Today, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced that the U.S. would be imposing tariffs on metals from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. This comes after the president previously issued similar tariffs on other countries but had excluded those allies. These tariffs include 25% on imported steel as well as 10% on imported aluminum and will go into effect at midnight.

As you’d expect, leaders from the affected countries are already speaking out against the move and threatening to retaliate. According to the Associated Press, French finance minister Bruno Le Maire called the decision to impose the tariffs “unjustified, unjustifiable, and dangerous.” He went on to say, “Global trade is not a ‘gunfight at the OK Corral.’ It’s not about who attacks whom, and then wait and see who is still standing at the end.” Meanwhile German Chancellor Angela Merkel suggested the U.S. should brace for a European response, saying the E.U. “will respond in an intelligent, decisive, and joint way.” Finally Mexico announced it was planning to impose tariffs on various American imports including pork, fruit, flat steel, and more.

In announcing the tariff implementations, Ross said the decision to end the exclusions for Mexico and Canada was made due to discussions over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) dragging on “longer than we had hoped.” Similarly Ross noted that, while some progress has been made on the E.U. front, their exemption would also be canceled. European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom acknowledged these efforts in a statement, saying the E.U “did everything to avoid this outcome.” However she went on to blast the way talks were handled, saying “The U.S. has sought to use the threat of trade restrictions as leverage to obtain concessions from the E.U. This is not the way we do business, and certainly not between long-standing partners, friends, and allies.”

Following the announcement by Ross, the market had a somewhat mixed reaction. Naturally stocks for American metal companies saw gains, with Century Aluminium up 3.2% at press time and U.S. Steel up 2.3%. However the Dow is down more than 200 points, likely due to fears over the trade war that may be brewing.

While the revocation of tariffs exemptions for the E.U., Mexico, and Canada were the big headline today, the White House also confirmed it was moving forward with a previously announced plan to impose $50 billion in tariffs on various Chinese goods. Even though it seems like tariffs have been the talk of Wall Street for months now, these announcements and the recent news that the U.S. is exploring a possible tax on imported autos have brought trade war fears to a new high. As a result both investors and everyday consumers should be bracing for blowback, hits to the market, and potentially higher prices on certain items.


Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

Other Articles by Jonathan Dyer

Nitra Latest FinTech to Join Visa's Fast Track Program

A spending insights platform built for healthcare professionals is getting a big boost by joining up with a major card company. This week, Nitra announced that it was the latest startup to join Visa's Fast Track program. As a result, the company will now have access to Visa's global payment network, VisaNet Nitra is a FinTech offering spending management tools for private practice physicians. With the platform, clients can issue...

Stripe Raises $6.5 Billion, Now Valued at $50 Billion 

FinTech giant Stripe has just closed a massive funding round, but is once again cutting its valuation. The online payments company has announced that it's just raised $6.5 billion. The Series I included participation from returning investors Andreessen Horowitz, Baillie Gifford, Founders Fund, General Catalyst, MSD Partners, and Thrive Capital, while new investors GIC, Goldman Sachs Asset and Wealth Management, and Temasek also joined. Goldman Sachs served as sole placement...

Chase Reveals Q2 2023 5% Bonus Categories for Freedom Cards

One of the biggest perks of the popular Chase Freedom Flex card (and its predecessor the Chase Freedom card) is the ability to earn 5% cashback on categories that rotate each quarter. Currently, these categories include grocery stores, fitness clubs and gym memberships, and purchases at Target. Now, with the first quarter of the year drawing to an end, Chase has revealed its Q2 2023 bonus categories. From April 1st...