‘This would widen the trade war tenfold’: U.S. automakers say no to Trump’s car tariffs

President Donald Trump says he wants to save the U.S. auto industry by slapping tariffs as high as 25 percent on foreign-made cars, but there’s a problem: Automakers don’t want his help.

The White House thinks the penalties would encourage domestic investment and automotive production and support U.S. workers — and Trump is pressing his staff to speed up the move so he can claim credit for it before the midterm elections.

But America’s carmakers, including Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler, are wary as they watch what’s happening to other companies caught in Trump’s trade war, such as Harley-Davidson. The motorcycle-maker suddenly found the European Union imposing tariffs on its U.S.-manufactured products after Trump instituted penalties on steel and aluminum from Europe. And Trump began attacking the company on Twitter this week after it announced it would move some jobs abroad to avoid the fallout.

Continue reading “‘This would widen the trade war tenfold’: U.S. automakers say no to Trump’s car tariffs”

Trump blasts Harley-Davidson’s decision to shift production overseas

President Donald Trump sharply criticized American motorbike manufacturer Harley-Davidson’s decision today to shift some of its production overseas, a move the company said it is making in order to avoid the president’s tariffs.

"Surprised that Harley-Davidson, of all companies, would be the first to wave the White Flag," Trump wrote on Twitter.

The post came after the company earlier today said it will be shifting production to its international facilities of motorcycles that are headed to Europe in order to avoid paying a 25 percent tariff on its way into the European market. Brussels levied that penalty in response to Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Harley-Davidson said the duties mean an increased cost of $2,200 on each motorcycle heading into Europe, which is the company’s largest market.

Trump noted in his post that he "fought hard for" Harley-Davidson and that "ultimately they will not pay tariffs selling into Continue reading “Trump blasts Harley-Davidson’s decision to shift production overseas”

Lawmakers step in to restore U.S. ties to Canada after Trump-Trudeau spat

Senators are stepping in to shore up relations with the United States’ closest ally after President Donald Trump and his administration launched a war of words — and tariffs — against Canada.

Just days after White House trade adviser Peter Navarro asserted that there is “a special place in hell” for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the top Canadian diplomat visited Capitol Hill on Wednesday to meet behind closed doors with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the request of Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the panel’s chairman.

The White House decision to impose steep duties on imports of steel and aluminum from Canada was the primary focus of the meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, which was planned before the events of the last week. The Trump administration justified those tariffs by saying the imports pose a national security threat to the United States — an explanation that Continue reading “Lawmakers step in to restore U.S. ties to Canada after Trump-Trudeau spat”

Navarro: Harsh comments against Trudeau were a ‘mistake’

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on Tuesday walked back his comments over the weekend saying that there was a "special place in hell" for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, acknowledging that his language was "inappropriate."

"Let me correct a mistake I made," Navarro said at a conference in Washington hosted by The Wall Street Journal’s CFO Network.

“My mission was to send a strong signal of strength,” he said. “The problem is that in conveying that message I used language that was inappropriate.”

Navarro exacerbated bilateral tensions between the U.S. and Canada on Sunday when he criticized Trudeau for double-crossing President Donald Trump. Navarro’s comments came after Trudeau said Canada would stand firmly against tariffs that Trump plans to impose on Canadian steel and aluminum.

"There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad-faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and Continue reading “Navarro: Harsh comments against Trudeau were a ‘mistake’”

Trump officials kick into damage-control mode with Canada

A day after President Donald Trump and his top advisers went on the attack against Canada, members of his Cabinet are taking steps to preserve and strengthen ties with the U.S.’ nearest ally.

In one step of the change in tone, the Department of Agriculture announced Monday that Secretary Sonny Perdue would head to Canada later this week to meet with his counterpart Lawrence MacAulay.

The trip and photo-op is intended to showcase ongoing cooperation between the two countries on agriculture — and it will fall amid repeated criticism from Trump himself about Canada’s high tariffs on U.S. dairy products in particular that enter the Canadian market.

In addition, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro further antagonized relations when he remarked on Sunday that “there’s a special place in hell” for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who he said engaged in “bad-faith diplomacy” with Trump.

Larry Kudlow, Continue reading “Trump officials kick into damage-control mode with Canada”

Foreign leaders stop playing nice with Trump on trade

Frustrated foreign leaders who failed to stop President Donald Trump’s protectionist trade policies are trying one last-ditch negotiating tactic: a real trade war.

Canada, Mexico and the European Union have pledged to slap penalties on billions of dollars of American goods in the coming weeks on items ranging from orange juice to Harley Davidsons to aftershave.

Their moves are a tit-for-tat response to Trump’s own decision to impose steep duties on those countries’ steel and aluminum exports, and they show just how deeply the president’s combative stance has altered global alliances built over decades. Foreign leaders are hoping a slowdown in the U.S. economy and loss of American jobs will persuade Trump to change his mind.

“I think there’s a resignation,” said Tony Fratto, a former Treasury Department and White House official under George W. Bush. “You’re not going to do it with words, so you have to do Continue reading “Foreign leaders stop playing nice with Trump on trade”

NAFTA on the brink as Trump fights with Mexico, Canada

The White House launched a round of strong-arm tactics Tuesday when Vice President Mike Pence called Justin Trudeau and issued an ultimatum: A reworked NAFTA deal would need to be renewed every five years. In response, Trudeau canceled a trip to the U.S.

Then on Wednesday, the Trump administration announced surprise steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico. And on Thursday and Friday, President Donald Trump bashed Canada’s trade practices.

The White House is hoping the campaign of aggression will cause Canada and Mexico to cave as talks to renegotiate the 25-year-old NAFTA agreement are plagued by standoffs and delays. But instead, the moves could backfire as Canada and Mexico retaliate with their own tariffs, leading to a stalemate that would result in Trump pulling out of NAFTA altogether.

Even by the most optimistic calculations, only a few weeks remain before a window closes for lawmakers to consider Continue reading “NAFTA on the brink as Trump fights with Mexico, Canada”

Poll: Voters want trade deals, not tariffs

A huge majority of U.S. voters would prefer that President Donald Trump focus more on negotiating new trade agreements rather than imposing tariffs on foreign imports, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll released Thursday.

The poll of nearly 2,000 registered voters found that 70 percent of them would prefer the Trump administration focus more on "negotiating trade agreements to open new markets to sell American-made products and goods." Only 14 percent, in contrast, answered that they would prefer the administration focus on "imposing tariffs or taxes on foreign products to slow down their sales in the United States."

When voters were asked which they would prefer Congress focused on, the numbers were similar: 67 percent wanted lawmakers to focus on negotiating new deals, while 16 percent said they would prefer they focus on imposing tariffs.

The poll was conducted when trade tensions with China in particular Continue reading “Poll: Voters want trade deals, not tariffs”

The guide to schizophrenic U.S.-China trade relations

The White House’s announcement Tuesday morning to move forward with tariffs and import restrictions on China is the latest in a series of tit-for-tat trade actions that President Donald Trump and top members of his administration have taken.

The move reignites trade tensions once again between the world’s two largest economies and comes as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is preparing to go to Beijing later this week for further talks that were supposed to be geared toward reducing the bilateral trade deficit between the two countries that Trump has long sought to narrow.

His trip also comes at a time when the administration has been in a hot-and-cold relationship with Beijing. Here’s a look at some of the interactions the Trump administration has had with China over trade in the past several months that have led up to this point:

Trump hits China with $50B tariffs, investment restrictions

President Donald Trump is moving ahead with steps to protect U.S. intellectual property by punishing China with broad investment restrictions, litigation at the World Trade Organization and hefty tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods.

The move, which the White House announced Tuesday morning, comes just over a week after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the trade war between the two countries was “on hold” and will ratchet up tensions just before Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is set to arrive in Beijing this week for further talks.

Beijing has already pledged to retaliate against the 25 percent tariffs, which the White House said will specifically target Chinese imports “containing industrially significant technology, including those related to the ‘Made in China 2025’ program.” The list of targeted goods will be announced by June 15 and imposed shortly after, the White House said.

The investment restrictions and strengthened export Continue reading “Trump hits China with $50B tariffs, investment restrictions”

NAFTA’s long road to completion

NAFTA’s long road to completion

Poll: Almost half of voters think tariffs on Chinese goods would hurt U.S. economy

U.S. voters are almost as likely to believe President Donald Trump’s proposed tariffs on Chinese goods would hurt American consumers as they are to think the Chinese would suffer, a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll shows.

The survey of nearly 2,000 registered voters found that 47 percent felt raising tariffs would have the Trump administration’s intended effect of hurting China’s economy, and 50 percent felt it would hurt Chinese businesses. But 46 percent also felt the penalties would hurt U.S. consumers, particularly lower- and middle-class Americans.

In contrast, about 1 in 5 respondents said tariffs would help China’s economy and businesses, while just over a quarter said they would help U.S. consumers.

The survey was completed just before the Trump administration announced over the weekend it would be at least temporarily backing off threats to impose 25 percent penalties on up to $150 billion in Chinese exports to Continue reading “Poll: Almost half of voters think tariffs on Chinese goods would hurt U.S. economy”

A new NAFTA will probably not get done this year. Now what?

Divisions among NAFTA negotiators on complex and controversial issues are driving a stake through the heart of President Donald Trump’s goal of signing a new agreement into law this year.

After nine months of intense negotiating rounds in all three countries, officials remain as far apart as ever on some of the biggest changes the administration has put forward, including ones related to auto manufacturing and Canada and Mexico‘s access to the U.S. government procurement market.

And without major concessions from Canada and Mexico, or a willingness from the U.S. to drop its most difficult demands, top negotiators will be unable this week to wrap up weighty issues that remain unresolved, those close to the talks say.

House Speaker Paul Ryan reiterated Wednesday that the administration would need to notify Congress this week if it wants the current Republican-controlled U.S. Congress to vote on the deal by Continue reading “A new NAFTA will probably not get done this year. Now what?”

China’s schooling Trump on the art of the delay

China may have a winning strategy for any trade war with the U.S.: simply waiting it out.

Beijing’s plan of action following this week’s trade talks with the U.S. is likely to be to take advantage of divergent opinions and mixed messages within the Trump administration, longtime China observers and trade experts say. China hopes that by playing the long game against the U.S., it will be able to gain better concessions on tariffs and trade policies in the future.

Over two days of trade meetings in China that ended Friday, Chinese officials stood firm against demands from some of President Donald Trump’s top economic advisers and laid out strict requests of their own. The result was that the U.S. delegation headed home having made little progress on intractable issues — an outcome that may play right into China’s interests.

“The Chinese are just Continue reading “China’s schooling Trump on the art of the delay”

Trump team makes stern demands on China; China makes its own to U.S.

The U.S. and China proposed seemingly insurmountable demands to each other during two days of meetings in Beijing, but agreed to keep talking in hopes of averting a trade war.

“The gap is wide and deep” between China’s state-run economic model and the free market principles of other countries, said William Zarit, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, which represents U.S. companies operating in the country.

“This will not be reconciled in one or two days,” he said.

The U.S. delegation demanded that China reduce its trade surplus with the U.S. by $200 billion over two years. Other asks were that China stop subsidizing high-tech sectors like robotics and alternative energy vehicles identified in its “Made in China 2025“ plan, cut tariffs on “all products in non-critical sectors” to levels at or below U.S. duties and assure that it would not challenge Continue reading “Trump team makes stern demands on China; China makes its own to U.S.”

Trump trade adviser: All countries exempted from steel tariffs will face quotas

Every country granted an exemption from President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum imports will face an import quota and other restrictions, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said Tuesday.

"The guiding principle of this administration, from the president down to his team, is that any country or entity like the European Union, which is exempt from the tariffs, will have a quota and other restrictions," he said at a meeting of steel industry executives hosted by the American Iron and Steel Institute and the Steel Manufacturers Association.

Navarro added such measures "are necessary to defend the aluminum and steel industries from imports in defense of our national security."

The line earned Navarro applause from the steel executives and manufacturers, who support Trump’s steps to restrict the imports under a little-used trade law known as Section 232. Just hours before, Trump had decided to grant Canada, Mexico and Continue reading “Trump trade adviser: All countries exempted from steel tariffs will face quotas”

Trump’s looming tariff deadline puts U.S. allies on edge

President Donald Trump’s long-threatened trade war with close allies could become reality at midnight, sparking huge potential disruptions to global financial markets and supply lines.

With only hours until the deadline, the European Union — the U.S.’ biggest trading partner — as well as Canada and Mexico are awaiting the White House’s high-stakes decision on whether they will face hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum exports to the U.S. or be spared, even on a temporary basis. The decision ultimately lies with Trump — and few people inside the White House or overseas are sure what or even when he will decide.

The countries waiting to hear their fate tonight — a group that also includes Australia, Brazil and Argentina — were granted temporary exemptions last month after Trump imposed duties of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum for national security reasons. The Continue reading “Trump’s looming tariff deadline puts U.S. allies on edge”

White House ‘encouraged’ by Xi speech but seeks ’concrete actions’

The White House welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping’s pledges to further open up his country’s market but stressed that words alone would not stop President Donald Trump from moving forward on possible tariffs on Chinese goods.

“Certainly we are encouraged by President Xi’s words," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters today during a daily press briefing. "But at the same time, we want to see concrete actions from China, and we’re going to continue moving forward in the process and in the negotiations until those things happen.”

The comments come in response to a major speech Xi delivered this morning in China during which he pledged, among other things, to lower tariffs on automobiles, mount a drive to boost imports to the country and strengthen protection of intellectual property.

Sanders said the commitments mark "a step in the right direction" but are not enough to stop Continue reading “White House ‘encouraged’ by Xi speech but seeks ’concrete actions’”

What China’s tariffs mean for the U.S.

The war of tit-for-tat tariffs between the United States and China escalated further on Wednesday when Beijing unveiled a list of U.S. exports worth about $50 billion that it plans to target with a new set of duties.

That move came only hours after President Donald Trump’s administration unveiled its own list of Chinese exports worth roughly the same amount that it plans to target with tariffs, a move meant to punish China for what the White House sees as the theft of intellectual property and forced transfer of valuable technologies.

It also marked the third set of duties announced between the two countries this week, after Beijing announced Sunday it was imposing penalties on $3 billion in U.S. exports on products like pork, recycled aluminum, fruit and wine.

What is actually affected?

The latest set of tariffs unveiled on Wednesday targets more than 100 different U.S. Continue reading “What China’s tariffs mean for the U.S.”