President Trump is imposing new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Trump said the U.S. has been ravaged by aggressive foreign trade practices for years and called it an assault on U.S. industries. Trump signed the order authorizing a 25% tariff on imported steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum while surrounded by steel and aluminum industry workers.
"You are truly the backbone of America, you know that. Very special people," Trump told the workers. "We have to protect our steel and alumnium industries while at the same time, showing great flexibility with people who are really friends of ours."
The tariffs will take effect in 15 days, but will not be levied on steel or aluminum imported from Mexico and Canada.
According to Fox News, the United States is the largest importer of steel in the world. America imports nearly four times as much steel as it produces. In 2016 the U.S. imported five times as much aluminum as it produced.
Trump blamed the trade imbalance on other countries "dumping" their cheap metal on the U.S. and harming workers as a result.
"It's a process called dumping. And they dumped more than any time, on any nation, anywhere in the world, and it drove our plants out and our businesses out," Trump said.
Critics, including some prominent Republicans, have warned that the action could provoke a trade war. According to CNN, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin issued this statement on the President's tariffs:
"President Trump wants to put China on notice for their abusive trade practices that hurt American workers and industries. I support that. The sweeping tariffs announced today are like dropping a bomb on a flea. Launching an all-out trade war will alienate the allies we need to actually solve the problem of steel dumping, and could have huge unintended consequences for American manufacturers who depend on imported materials."
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