Trump could blunder his way into a trade war — EDITORIAL

President Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump has made a controversial decision that will affect Canada in some major ways.

One Australian government source told Fairfax Media they were pessimistic about the chances of any special carve-outs but, given the mixed messages from the administration and Mr Trump's often erratic leadership style, there was still a chance of achieving concessions.

Days ago, Trudeau had termed the imposition of trade tariffs as "unacceptable".

"It's some $3 billion of goods that the Europeans have threatened to put something on".

With the UK quitting the most powerful trading bloc in the world - the EU - it cannot risk alienating those it seeks new trading relationships with, so options are limited.

"If that proves impossible, we are prepared to move on a bilateral basis", Lighthizer said, reading from a statement in Mexico City at the end of a seventh round of talks.

The trade minister, Steve Ciobo, warned last week that the tariffs could spark a trade war and lead to global recession, and said Australia reserved the right to doing anything necessary to protect the national interest. He did say that there may be case-by-case exemptions for business reasons.

We'll see, of course, if that holds.

Currently, the US, Canada and Mexico are renegotiating NAFTA.

"Such measures would inflict pain on international trade flows and our industry, but above all hurt workers and consumers on both sides of the Atlantic", German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said Monday. "We're going to build our steel industry back, we're going to build our aluminum industry back".

A trade deal struck by former President Bill Clinton, NAFTA has been the target of renegotiation since Trump took office a year ago. "And he understands that if we don't do this, we're going to lose our steel and aluminum industries, and we won't have a country". He invoked the rarely-used Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act which authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to conduct comprehensive investigations to determine the effects of imports of any article on the US national security. "Well, in our sized economy, that's a tiny, tiny fraction of one percent".

"I expect [the tariffs]... to be front and centre", said Kevin Brady, Republican chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, according to CNBC.

"Obviously this is the time for cool heads but it is also a time for governments around the world - and alternative governments - to point to dangers of this sort of protectionism and the benefits of trade".

Photo Donald Trump and Malcolm Turnbull met at the G20 summit last year and the White House just before the tariffs announcement.

The policy will increase the costs of construction, which in New York City are already at dizzying heights, they said. Trump's tweet helped push the Canadian dollar down to C$1.2988 to the U.S. dollar, the lowest level since July 7, 2017.

The US has made clear that no countries will be exempted from the tariffs, raising acute fears for British exporters.

Trump's pronouncement Thursday that he would impose tariffs of 25 percent and 10 percent, respectively, on imported steel and aluminum, roiled markets and rankled allies.

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