Like a Bull in a China Shop

Steelworkers union President Leo Gerard was on TV recently praising Trump for imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum. He said it would punish China for cheating on trade agreements.

Does the head of one of the world’s largest labor organizations not know most of America’s steel and aluminum imports iare from Canada – not China?

China ranks 11th on the list of US steel imports, fourth in aluminum imports. Indeed steel and aluminum sales to the US are a relatively small part of China’s exports.

World trade today is extremely complex. Trump’s mind is not. Like the proverbial bull in a china shop, he randomly unleashes havoc as he thrashes about.

By striking at China’s steel and aluminum exports, he inadvertently hits not only Canada and other exporters but also countries like Australia that produce raw materials for China’s factories.

Of course, Canada’s  plants use raw materials from other countries, too –  Jamaican bauxite, for example.

Nobody is accusing Canada and Australia – or Jamaica – of violating trading pacts with the US.

But they stand to get hit by Trump’s broad-brush “punishment.”

So do  American exporters, who will surely suffer as Trump’s tariffs bring retaliation from America’s trading partners.

American consumers will be the hardest hit of all. Tariffs on major imports will raise prices on a broad range of goods.

Almost unanimously, economists are predicting massive job losses in the US. And the stock market is reflecting widespread investor concern. The entire US economy is being threatened.

There’s an old saying that it’s better to trust a knave than a fool. Sadly, Trump is both.

Where US buys steel, aluminum

Tariffs’ impact on Canada

Financial mpact of Trump’s tariffs

More implications of the tariffs