Trying to get Trump to listen on tariffs

By Yves Faguy June 5, 20185 June 2018

Trying to get Trump to listen on tariffs

Growing opposition to the Trump administration’s trade tariffs on steel and aluminum announced last week is gathering steam among U.S. domestic interests. Politico is reporting on a major lobbying effort under way, for the most part to win further exemptions and product exclusions, which appear to be piling up faster than an understaffed Commerce Department can handle. 

Meanwhile, the industrialist Koch brothers, influential in U.S. conservative circles (and erstwhile Trump allies), have promised to massively finance a sustained “multi-year, multimillion dollar” campaign in favour of free trade.

Already on the legislative front in the U.S., there is also an effort to draw up legislation that would reverse the tariffs by subjecting them to congressional approval. The problem is that to become law anytime soon, it would require the president’s signature.

As we reported last week, the legal options for trade partners to reverse the tariffs are pretty slim, and efforts at persuasion don’t seem to be getting anywhere either. All around relations with U.S. allies are souring – the most recent evidence of that being a phone call between French president Emmanuel Macron and Trump that reportedly went poorly.

As America’s trade partners prepare to respond with retaliatory tariffs, Matt Yglesias proposes that instead of hitting back “with taxes on imported bourbon and orange juice,’ they target their sanctions at the Trump Organization.  Scott Gilmore served up a similar idea in a recent Maclean’s piece, admitting that though it may sound crazy, it might eventually be the only option.


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