TRUMP VERSUS THE WORLD
By Viraj Mehta
Ever since Donald Trump entered office, the whole world has felt his iron fist when it comes to trade. Tariff after tariff has been fired at countries around the world, justified as countervailing and antidumping duties. The former affects industries with poor and unfair subsidies from the government, whilst the latter regards foreign industries entering US markets with their products.
Since President Trump came to power, there have been 122 investigations into countervailing and antidumping duties, affecting more than 30 countries and $12bn in imports. China heads the list of countries under the US’s radar, with nearly 40 investigations, ranging from aluminium alloys to rubber bands and silk ribbons. Next on the hit list is India with 12 investigations, then South Korea and Thailand.
Mr Trump’s incessant obsession with trade wars can be most prominently seen when he imposed tariffs on Spanish olives after receiving complaints from Californian farmers, costing $68m of Spanish exports to the US. When meeting Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Trump highlighted the
importance of protecting American farmers’ interests. However, the tariff imposition with the greatest value was with Canada, when Trump quarreled with aircraft company Bombardier, affecting $5bn of Canadian exports to the US. However, after eight months of tariffs against the company, the 300% tariffs were cancelled.
But what is being investigated? The most popular source for American concern regarding foreign antitrust is carbon and steel wire, a supposedly mundane item, with 12 tariff investigations. Next were large welded pipes and then mechanical tubing. As you go down the list, it shows the apparent concern for industrial parts, notably biodiesel, of which there were tariffs were imposed on $1.5bn of imports from Argentina and Indonesia.
Trump’swillingnesstopersistwithtradedisputeshasmadehimunpopularontheworldstage.This has led to retaliatory tariffs from other countries on the US, and although Trump is sticking to his promise to “Make America Great Again”, it’s not going to be sustainable in the long run.