As a treaty ally Japan may be able to make a persuasive case that its exports do not imperil US national security. Industry groups and some lawmakers are scrambling to prevent a new front in a potential trade war that could reverberate across the US economy. "We don't know what the legal basis for the U.S. measure is, so I can't comment on whether or not they have an obligation to notify the announced measures from last night to the WTO".
But with these tariffs, the Trump administration appears so far to be content to go it alone.
If you listen to one medial outlet, you'll probably hear that Trump's new tariff is completely absurd and hurts Americans.
The European Commission has warned that it is prepared to impose temporary safeguard duties on imports into the European Union of US-made steel and aluminium in response to new U.S. tariffs on aluminium and steel imports.
China, supposedly the source of Trump's concern, also has a few cards up its sleeve to offset USA markets, with Beijing stating that it will "take necessary measures to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests". The administration has not yet said that it will focus the tariffs in this way; but, given that they are being introduced with a phase-in period, during which trade partners may seek exemptions, such targeting seems to be the likeliest scenario.
"We must prepare for all possible scenarios", EU Council President Donald Tusk said in an invitation letter to the leaders, exhorting them to remain an example to the global trading system rather than revert to protectionism.
A source who had direct knowledge of the administration's thinking told Reuters last week that the tariffs, authorized under the 1974 US Trade Act, would be chiefly targeted at IT, consumer electronics and telecoms and other products benefiting from US intellectual property.
Once a round of such tariffs and counter-measures are started, it can become very unclear when such tit-for-tat actions will stop, and then global commerce can suffer greatly, leading to more net job losses and more lost national revenues from exports than can be helped in the ostensibly "protected" industries.
Uncle Sam's rich-world police need big United States deficits.
The groups that signed the letter state that there are other ways to address China's policies and practices that wouldn't have such a negative impact on the US economy or undermine the benefits of the tax reform. Until a few years ago, the Chinese government was using the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) sophisticated cyber skills to infiltrate U.S. companies and steal technology. The U.S. already levies the highest tariff on consumer goods (as high as 32 percent on basic clothes and 67 percent on shoes) among all categories of products. Trump is planning to announce the action by Friday.
"The president's going to continue fighting for the American worker", said Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
The European Union threatened to impose similar tariffs on imports of Kentucky Bourbon, Harley-Davidson products and blue jeans. "This is not a guy that wants to create isolationism or a trade war". This ignores how tariffs increase costs of production for industries reliant on imported materials to produce their products.