He told aides that he been proclaiming for 30 years that the United States needed a more protectionist approach, according to two White House officials not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations. "China would have to make a justified and necessary response".
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he agreed with Commerce's findings that unfair trade and its impact on the USA industrial base "poses a risk to our national security", but said there was little risk the military would suffer a shortage of steel or aluminum.
EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said the bloc was "not preparing for battle" but had to be ready to protect its industry. Agricultural trade has been a bright spot for US economy, positively impacting our overall trade balance, while providing an important avenue to grow demand for America's farmers and ranchers.
Last year, China's steel exports to the United States constituted about 2.9 per cent of the 35.6 million tonnes of the metal imported annually by America. Trump said the tariff's would "defend America's national security".
"A strong steel and aluminum industry are vital to our national security, absolutely vital", he said. "It's really an assault on our country".
Being forced to rule on the Trump tariffs "would put the WTO in a tough spot", DeBusk says. "We have capacity to produce more steel with our existing assets".
People at the Lane Steel company, which sits on the river in McKee Rocks, told me how comforted they were by a president willing to go in to bat for American workers. "We work together. We can not possibly be a threat to national security in the USA, so we are counting on being excluded", she said.
Other countries, too, could be spared, the president said, if they can convince the administration that their steel and aluminum exports don't threaten American industry. Just want a fair outcome, ideally where tariffs/rules are equally moderate.
President Trump hopes these tariffs will help the USA economy grow faster both in terms of output and employment. That scenario, Tom Donohue said, would endanger the economic momentum from the GOP tax cuts and Trump's rollback of regulations.
"With these tariffs, I think it'll level the playing field", Davis said.
UK Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox said that it made "no sense" for the USA to impose tariffs on Britain.
U.S. President Donald Trump shows his signature on Section 232 Proclamations on Steel and Aluminum Imports in the Oval Office of the White House on March 8, 2018. Canada and Mexico are exempt for now, and the tariffs will be effective in two weeks. Many economists have expressed fear that Mr. Trump's measure may trigger a global slowdown. He appeared to have conceded some ground after a campaign by Republican lawmakers, industry groups and USA allies overseas.
Kosei Shindo, chairman of the Japan Iron and Steel Federation, echoed the view, saying that the measures may create "a negative chain reaction by other countries taking similar actions under similar pretenses".
Historical patterns display a tendency on the part of the U.S.to use trade negotiations to promote American commercial interests in global markets by opposing unfair discrimination. He said the conversation also touched on the security alliance between the US and Australia, as well as possible talks between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
He singled out Germany for criticism, which books massive trade surpluses and has long failed to meet North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defence spending targets.