The chattering class has been itching for a trade war. The steel tariffs aren't it.
President Trump announced on March 1 that he plans to issue a 25 percent tariff on steel imports as soon as next week, capping off a 10-month process in which the Commerce Department determined these imports pose a threat to national security.
Almost immediately, the announcement was framed as the first shot in a trade war between Trump and the rest of the world.
Because Trump has made revamping America’s trade policies a hallmark of his agenda since his presidential campaign, pundits have been clamoring to push the narrative that any trade enforcement action is a trade war. Lost in the shuffle is any meaningful discussion as to how we got here in the first place, why such trade enforcement is needed, and what the actual, real-life consequences of the potential tariffs are likely to be.
Over on Medium, I break things down and bust some myths, including:
- Myth: The steel tariffs will shock the stock market, deter economic growth, and lead to a depression.
- Myth: American companies that use steel will see their costs skyrocket.
- Myth: This is going to lead to cost increases on everything from cars to beer.
- Myth: Steel imports don’t impact national security, so Trump’s argument is void.
- Myth: This is a trade war!
That last one, of course, is the one gaining the most traction in the media, but we shouldn't fear a “trade war.” These tariffs are a trade enforcement action, designed to defend America’s steel industry against foreign threats and safeguard our national security. And it sure beats continuing a trade surrender, which has damaged our workers for far too long.