Germany Unhappy Over New Steel Tariffs

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Germany is upset at new tariffs on carbon and alloy steel cut-to-length plate:

Germany’s foreign minister on Friday morning said the Trump administration is taking a “dangerous step” after the Commerce Department announced a tariff on imports of foreign steel, indicating the tax could become a new source of conflict with the powerful U.S. ally and trading partner.

….“The U.S. Government is apparently prepared to provide American companies with unfair competitive advantages over European and other producers, even if such action violates international trade law,” Gabriel’s statement read. “I very much fail to comprehend the decision.”

FWIW, none of this is really a Trump thing. The International Trade Commission began investigating dumping claims against Austria, Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, South Africa, Taiwan, and Turkey in early 2016, and finished up its work before Trump took office. The vote determining that these countries were dumping product in the US below cost was unanimous.

I don’t know what the Obama or Clinton administrations would have done if they’d had the final decision on this, but my guess is that they would have done the same thing as Trump, and the targets of the tariffs would have complained and threatened to take the case to the WTO. So there’s nothing much new here. It’s just another steel tariff. Because, you know, all the previous ones over the past four decades have been so successful.

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