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We discuss potential impact of steel tariffs on manufacturing and construction, and the potential for a trade war

Labourers work at a construction site in New York on February 14, 2018.
Labourers work at a construction site in New York on February 14, 2018.

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President Trump roiled markets in the U.S. and abroad, and stoked talk of possible trade wars after he announced on Thursday that he would impose strict tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum.

The president continued the narrative Friday on Twitter, tweeting that trade wars are “good, and easy to win.”

The reaction from major U.S. trade partners around the world was largely one of shock, with some threatening retaliative measures. The European Union said it would be discussing ways to impose small “safeguards” to prevent the EU market from being flooded with steel that’s been rerouted from the U.S. China, a big exporter of steel to the U.S., encouraged caution when implementing protective measures and said the U.S. should “respect multilateral trade rules.”

How will this move affect manufacturing and construction industries? What would the impact be on imported goods and the agriculture business if countries were to retaliate?


Dan Ikenson, director of Cato Institute’s Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies

William Alan Reinsch, Scholl Chair in International Business at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and senior adviser at Kelley, Drye & Warren LLP

Brian Raff, director of government relations for the American Institute of Steel Construction, a nonprofit trade organization that represents the steel design, fabrication and construction industry