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Trump's proposed tariffs are the retaliation
Leveling the playing field.
One of the hysterical objections from those who oppose President Trump's proposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum is that he is going to start a trade war, because other countries will retaliate with tariffs of their own.
There's one very big problem with that argument: Other countries already have such tariffs. In fact, President Trump's proposal isn't the start to anything. He is the one retaliating against the unfair tariffs already levied by other countries.
In an interview last week on CNBC, Nucor CEO John Ferriola pointed out that the European Union imposes a 25 percent value-added tax on just about all goods coming into its member nations from outside. That puts American manufacturers at a distinct disadvantage as they seek to penetrate EU markets. Where is all the shrieking about the EU starting a trade war?
There is none, because levies like this are the norm throughout the world, not the exception. The United States has generally been the exception insofar as we have sat back and taken it, and not made other countries pay any price for putting our businesses at such a disadvantage within the global marketplace.
President Trump has long said he believes in free trade, and in fair trade. Trade isn't really free when everybody else is smacking you with artificial costs and you're doing nothing in response. If other countries want to bring down these tariffs, let them do so, and we can really have free trade. President Trump doesn't believe they should pay no price if they refuse. It's not fair to the American companies who are hurt by the uneven playing field, and it's also not fair to foreign consumers and businesses who might like to buy American products but are made to pay an absurdly high price.
And you'll notice that President Trump's proposed tariffs are targeted. They're not all-encompassing. He's not going to impose tariffs on every product that comes into the United States, but he is going to act in defense of U.S. industries that have been especially hurt by unfair trade practices, as he should. These proposals were well thought-out and are aimed at solving the problem, not at playing politics.
The fact that he's delayed his final announcement of the policy shows that he's interested in getting it right, not in pandering to anyone, and certainly not in starting a trade war.
We'd all like everything to be free and open, but in order for that to happen, everyone has to play nice. If some countries are not going to do that, then they have to know that the United States will look out for its own. You're not going to get a good deal - today, tomorrow or ever - if you won't.