Late last night, President Trump decided to hold off on imposing most of the administration’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, at least until June 1.
Tariffs were scheduled to take effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, April 30th. Major trading partners to be affected by these tariffs included Canada, the largest U.S. supplier of steel and aluminum, as well as Mexico, Argentina, Australia, Brazil and the EU. China may well have been the intended target, but our imports of their steel and aluminum have been diminishing for years.
The administration has reached an agreement (in principle) with Australia, Argentina and Brazil, but talks continue with Canada and Mexico as part of the NAFTA negotiations. Discussions are also continuing with EU countries.
President Trump used his authority to protect “domestic industries critical to national security” as the rationale to impose tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum. In recent weeks, Trump has moved to using tariffs — or the threat thereof — as a bargaining chip in broader trade negotiations. A U.S. delegation is on its way to Beijing for trade talks later this week.