Posts tagged with "Tariffs"

Mick Mulvaney: American public may never see Trump’s ‘secret deal’ with Mexico

June 13, 2019

On June 12, President Donald Trump showed a group of reporters gathered outside the White House a mysterious sheet of paper—claiming it was his new border deal with Mexico. However, he did not disclose its contents, saying he would defer to America’s southern ally to state the terms of the accord.

Now it seems that the big reveal may never happen, according to the White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who declined to discuss details of the arrangement in an interview with CNBC’s Eamon Javers on the same date.

“If I told you, it wouldn’t be the secret part of the deal, right?” Mulvaney told CNBC at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s 2019 Fiscal Summit.

Asked when the public would see the secret deal, Mulvaney responded: “Maybe never,” noting, “Because if it works, it doesn’t make any difference.”

Mulvaney added: “The purpose here is not to satisfy your journalistic sort of, you know, inquiries as to what the deal is. The goal is to reduce the number of people crossing the border.”

Javers pressed Mulvaney on whether the United States had agreed to “whatever the terms are in this secret deal? We’ve signed up for something as a country?”

“Yeah,” Mulvaney said. “Again, it’s something that will kick in if the other things don’t work.”

In that case, Mulvaney said, the public would find out about the deal.

On June 7, the United States  and Mexico issued a joint declaration that resolved Trump’s threats to impose tariffs on Mexican imports if the country did not take action to reduce the flow of migrants across its northern border. As part of the deal, Mexico agreed to deploy its national guard to its southern border with Guatemala.

That declaration made no mention of other agreements. Mexico has flatly denied any secret deal.

But Trump has said that a secret element of the deal will soon be public.

“We have fully signed and documented another very important part of the immigration and security deal with Mexico, one that the U.S. has been asking about getting for many years,” the president wrote in a post on Twitter on June 11 . “It will be revealed in the not too distant future and will need a vote by Mexico’s Legislative body!”

Parts of the text on the piece of paper were readable in a photograph taken by the New York Post, and raised the possibility that Mexico had agreed to a “safe third country” arrangement, which would require Central American migrants to request asylum in Mexico, rather than the U.S. The issue has been a sticking point in U.S.-Mexico negotiations.

According to CNBC, Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard. said Tuesday that the country may consider such an arrangement if it cannot reduce unlawful immigration into the United States within 45 days.

Research contact: @CNBC

Turning tail: Senate Republicans warn White House against Mexico tariffs

June 6, 2019

Et tu, GOP? Even the Senate Republican are starting to doubt the wisdom of Trump’s tariffs—especially those he means to impose against Mexico. After all, Americans like their avocados, tequila, and automobiles.

Indeed, according to a New York Times report, Republican senators sent the White House a clear and compelling message on June 4—warning that they were almost unanimously opposed to the president’s plans to establish tariffs on Mexican imports, just hours after the president said lawmakers would be “foolish” to try to stop him.

The administration’s latest move to intimidate the nation’s southern neighbor in the face of rising illegal immigration at the border will create a “tax” against Americans, the GOP claims (and Democrats agree). Trump has threatened to set 5% tariffs on all goods imported from Mexico, rising to as high as 25%, until the Mexican government stems the flow of migrants, the Times said.

Republican senators emerged from a closed-door lunch at the Capitol angered by the briefing they received from a deputy White House counsel and an assistant attorney general on the legal basis for the president to impose new tariffs by declaring a national emergency at the southern border.

“I want you to take a message back” to the White House, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), told the lawyers, according to Times sources. Cruz warned that “you didn’t hear a single yes” from the Republican conference. He called the proposed tariffs a $30 billion tax increase on Texans.

“I will yield to nobody in passion and seriousness and commitment for securing the border,” Mr. Cruz later told reporters. “But there’s no reason for Texas farmers and ranchers and manufacturers and small businesses to pay the price of massive new taxes.”

Texas would be hit the hardest by the proposed tariffs on Mexican products, followed by Michigan, California, Illinois and Ohio, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. A 25% tariff would threaten $26.75 billion of Texas imports.

In fact, the Chamber notes on its home page, “Imposing tariffs on Mexico is exactly the wrong move. These tariffs will be paid by American families and businesses without doing a thing to solve the very real problems at he border.

“We’re holding a gun to our own heads,” said Senator John Cornyn, (R-Texas).

If Mr. Trump were to declare an emergency to impose the tariffs, the House and the Senate could pass a resolution disapproving them. But such a resolution would almost certainly face a presidential veto, meaning that both the House and the Senate would have to muster two-thirds majorities to beat Mr. Trump.

Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) said he warned the lawyers  during the closed-door meeting that the Senate could muster an overwhelming majority to beat back the tariffs, even if the president were to veto a resolution disapproving them. Republicans may be broadly supportive of Trump’s push to build a wall and secure the border, he said, but they oppose tying immigration policy to the imposition of tariffs on Mexico.

“The White House should be concerned about what that vote would result in, because Republicans really don’t like taxing American consumers and businesses,” Senator Johnson said.

However, the Times reported, when asked about Senate Republicans discussing ways to block the tariffs during his UK trip, President Trump responded, “I don’t think they will do that. I think if they do, it’s foolish.”

Research contact: @maggieNYT

America’s Rust Belt voters say Trump’s tariffs spell trouble

September 28, 2018

Voters in America’s struggling Rust Belt put their faith in Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election—but they may refuse to rally around Republican candidates in the approaching midterms.

Indeed, a poll released on September 27 by Reuters/Ipsos and the University of Virginia Center for Politics has found that residents of America’s industrial heartland—Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—are struggling with the after-effects of the Trump administration’s newly imposed tariffs.

Support for tariffs among likely voters—people who have been identified as most likely to take part in the upcoming election —varied from 33% in Pennsylvania to 38% in Michigan, Reuters announced. In all states, most voters were negative on tariffs, varying from 44% percent in Indiana to 50% in Wisconsin.

Trump’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum have allowed U.S. producers to raise their prices, but hiked costs for manufacturers of cars and other goods. U.S. exporters are also facing retaliatory tariffs from China and others.

Trade and tariffs aren’t this powerfully positive issue for the president and Republicans; if anything they are viewed as counterproductive to the people and places that elected Trump,” said John Austin, Michigan-based Nonresident Brookings Institute Senior Fellow, based on the survey and anecdotal evidence.

On the presidential campaign trail, many Rust Belt voters cheered Trump’s criticism of international trade agreements as being bad for the United States. However, new deals have proven tough to strike.

Among Republican-voting respondents in the poll, only a little over half in some Rust Belt states thought tariffs were good for their families: 53% in Indiana and 51% in Pennsylvania. It was slightly more in Ohio at 57%t. Approval was higher in Michigan, at 59%; and in Wisconsin, at 60%.

A poll released on September 26 showed that a majority of likely voters in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana disapprove of Trump.

Research contact: @Reuters 

Saying Trump is creating an ‘economic emergency,’ China retaliates against new U.S. tariffs

September 19, 2018

Following an announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump late on September 17 that he intended to impose a 10% tax on a $200 billion list of Chinese imports, ranging from consumer goods to manufacturing materials, the People’s Republic now has retaliated in the ongoing trade war.

The Chinese Finance Ministry announced on September 18 it would go ahead with plans announced in August to tax 5,207 types of American-made goods—a $60 billion list, ranging from coffee to farm machinery. The smaller, mismatched dollar amount reflects the fact that China is running out of American goods to tax, due to its trade imbalance, NBC News reported..

The new round of tariffs is aimed at curbing “trade friction” and the “unilateralism and protectionism of the United States,” the ministry said on its website.

The new tariffs, levied at a rate of 5% and 10%, will come into effect on September 24. NBC said — the date Trump targeted for his latest round of punitive tariffs. Trump also has stated that the new tariffs will rise to 25% by January 1.

According to the network news source, Trump has repeatedly said his goal is to force partners to the table to renegotiate current trade deals that he and his supporters view as unfair to American economic and security interests. Foreign businesses have long complained that China’s protectionist policies are pushing them out of promising economic opportunities.

The Chinese Commerce Ministry said that it had been forced to react because the U.S. was creating an “economic emergency.”

Economists have warned that the escalating battle could knock up to 0.5 percentage points off global economic growth through 2020.

Research contact: @lbayly_nbcT

Trump continues to ostracize Canada in trade talks

August 28, 2018

Just months after President Donald Trump said he would withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)—which had progressively eliminated tariffs between the United States, Mexico, and Canada since 1994—progress has been announced toward a new deal.

According to an August 26 report by Bloomberg, the POTUS still is threatening to leave NAFTA in the dust—saying on Monday that he would create a trade accord with Mexico that would eliminate Canada from the bloc.

Such a new pact would need to be approved by Congress before it could become effective—and that is unlikely. Although Canada has not been a party to recent talks, the potential for a two-country deal appears small, given opposition by Mexico, American lawmakers and North American industries whose supply chains rely on all three countries, the news outlet reported.

Trump announced the agreement with Mexico in a hastily arranged Oval Office event on August 27, Stars and Stripes said, piggybacking on the Bloomberg report, with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto joining by conference call.

According to the military news outlet, Pena Nieto said he is “quite hopeful” Canada would soon be incorporated in the revised agreement, while Trump said that remains to be seen.

The agreement with Mexico centers on rules governing the automobile industry, resolving a big source of friction, but leaves aside other contentious issues that affect all three countries.

Early on Monday morning, Trump tweeted, “A big deal looking good with Mexico!”

America’s trade relations with Canada have deteriorated in recent months, as President Trump has repeatedly carped on the country’s trade practices and Canadian leaders have insisted they will not rush to sign a deal that does not work in their favor.

On August 24, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said that Canada would be “happy” to rejoin the talks once the United States and Mexico had made progress on their specific issues. “Once the bilateral issues get resolved, Canada will be joining the talks to work on both bilateral issues and our trilateral issues,” Freeland said.

Trump has continued to inject uncertainty into the NAFTA talks, believing that the strategy gives his advisers an advantage at the negotiating table, the news outlets said. He has hit Canada and Mexico with hefty tariffs on their shipments of steel and aluminum and threatened further taxes on their cars.

Research contact: @EMPosts 

Newsprint tariffs hit U.S. media hard

August 10, 2018

The Trump administration is hitting the nation’s “fake news” publishers where it hurts, even as it continues a simmering trade war with its closest ally, Canada.

On August 2, the Department of Commerce announced that it would proceed with somewhat lower tariffs on Canadian newsprint, a blow to an already-flailing (and failing) U.S. newspaper industry. Indeed, the administration’s decision to impose these tariffs is leading to the demise of local newspapers—forcing already-struggling publications to cut staff, reduce the number of days they print; and, in at least one case, close their doors entirely, according to an August 8 report by The New York Times.

Papers throughout the country already are feeling the effects of the tariffs, the Times said. At least a dozen newspapers across the country have cut publication days, and one newspaper, The Jackson County Times-Journal in Ohio, shut down, citing declining print readership and the tariffs.

An August 3 story by The New York Post, revealed that the tariffs originally imposed by America in May had added up to 30% to the price of newsprint imported from Canada. The latest tariffs range from 8% to 20%.

In reaction to the revision, the trade group News Media Alliance stated that it “doesn’t solve [the] underlying problem.”

Specifically, President and CEO of the alliance David Chavern released comments noting, “While we appreciate the hard work the Commerce Department has put into this investigation and that the margins have been reduced, we believe the final determination does not solve the underlying problem. These taxes on Canadian imports for newsprint, which have been collected during in the preliminary phase, have already caused job losses at newspapers across the country and resulted in less quality news and information being distributed in local communities.’

Others in the industry agreed. “We appreciate Commerce’s slight reduction in tariffs; however, commercial printing companies, book printers, suppliers, and consumers will still pay a price with increased costs and less business, which will hurt our member companies, their employees, and ultimately U.S. newsprint manufacturers. We hope the International Trade Commission will reverse this tax on paper,” said Michael Makin, president and CEO, Printing Industries of America.

“It’s a step in the right direction, but these tariffs are still causing damage and need to be repealed to protect newspapers,” said Paul Boyle, head of Stop Tariffs on Printers & Publishers (STOPP). Newsprint, the second biggest cost to publishers after workers, is now close to $800 a metric ton, said Boyle.

According to the Times report, surging newsprint costs are beginning to hurt publications like The Gazette in Janesville, Wisconsin, the hometown paper of the Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan (R-Wisconsin). The paper, with a newsroom staff of 22, was the first to publish the news in 2016 that Mr. Ryan would support the presidential candidacy of Donald J. Trump. And while its editorial board has endorsed Mr. Ryan countless times, the paper made national news when it chided him for refusing to hold town halls with his constituents. Now, with newsprint tariffs increasing annual printing costs by $740,000, the Gazette has made several cuts to its staff and is using narrower paper—thereby, reducing the number of stories published every day.

We’re all paying a huge price,” Skip Bliss, the publisher of the Gazette, said of the tariffs’ effect on the industry. “I fear it’s going to be a very difficult time. I

As with Mr. Trump’s other tariffs on steel, aluminum, solar panels and washing machines, the newsprint duties will help some American manufacturers but hurt many other domestic  companies, the Times reported.

A study conducted by Charles River Associates on behalf of a coalition of printers, publishers and paper suppliers projects that American newsprint prices will increase more than 30% within the next one to two years, and that newspapers and printers will face an increased cost of roughly half a billion dollars from the remaining five American mills producing newsprint.

Research contact: sgarnett@crai.com

Without fanfare, Senate votes to abate tariffs on Chinese goods

July 30, 2018

As trade tensions escalate between the Trump administration and Beijing, the U.S. Senate with little fanfare passed legislation on July 26 that would lower trade barriers on hundreds of items made in China, CNBC reported. A version of that bill already had passed unanimously in the House of Representatives earlier this year.

With no debate, the Senate unanimously passed a bill that would cut or eliminate tariffs on toasters, chemicals—and roughly 1,660 other items made outside the United States, the business news network said. Nearly half of those items are produced in China, based on a Reuters analysis of government records.

The move is meant to neutralize a 25% tariff on up to $50 billion of Chinese goods that Trump announced in mid-June—as well as a subsequent move by China to impose a 25% retaliatory tariff on $34 billion worth of U.S. goods, including agricultural products and U.S.-made cars.

In June, CNN reported that Trump meant his tariffs on Chinese goods to penalize Beijing for stealing American technology and trade secrets. The news network said that the “tariff is targeted towards the Chinese aerospace, robotics, manufacturing and auto industries.”

According to CNBC, the White House has not publicly taken a position on the so-called Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act of 2018. The Senate and House now need to resolve minor differences before they can send the legislation to President Trump to sign into law.

The National Association of Manufacturers has said U.S. businesses pay $1 million a day on such import duties. In a statement, NAM urged passage of the act, “to eliminate unfair, out-of-date, distortive, and anticompetitive taxes on manufacturers.”

When asked in an April 11 Quinnipiac poll if they would support or oppose “raising tariffs on products imported from China, if it causes China to raise tariffs on American products,” 51% of U.S. adults nationwide said they would oppose the tariffs and 40% said they would support them. There was a partisan divide in the results, with two-thirds of Republicans supporting Trump’s actions.

Research contact: timothy.malloy@quinnipiac.edu

Putin challenges Trump’s tariffs

July 5, 2018

Russia has requested talks with the United States on President Donald Trump’s decision to impose new duties on steel and aluminum—the first step in formally challenging the action at the World Trade Organization. Indeed, the subject may come up at the July 16 summit  in Helsinki, Finland, already scheduled by Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

The complaint filed Monday is the seventh initiated by a WTO member against Trump’s new tariffs, following cases brought by China, India, the European Union, Canada, Mexico, and Norway, Politico reported on July 2.

Moscow’s move comes just as the Trump administration is mulling 25% tariffs on auto imports in the name of national security.

The U.S. imported $192 billion in new passenger vehicles in 2017, according to Chad Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Russia claims the U.S. duties of 25% and 10% on imports of steel and aluminum products, respectively, are inconsistent with provisions of the WTO’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 and the Agreement on Safeguards, Politico said.

The Trump administration imposed the duties under Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, which allows a president to restrict imports to protect national security.

However, rather than accept the U.S. national security rationale for the steel and aluminum duties, other WTO members are treating the restrictions as emergency “safeguard” restrictions, Politico reported. Such restrictions are allowed under WTO rules but must meet certain criteria to pass muster. Steel safeguard restrictions imposed by former President George W. Bush in 2002 were struck down by the WTO.

The EU, Canada, Mexico, China and others also have retaliated against the U.S. steel and aluminum duties, arguing that they are entitled to take such steps because the United States did not compensate them for imposing safeguard restrictions.

On tariffs, 48%  of Americans disagree with President Trump’s imposition of new levies on steel and aluminum imports, while 36% agree, according to findings of a recent CBS News poll. When asked specifically about tariffs on Canadian imports, the number of Americans who disagree rises to 62%. Fifty-eight percent of Republicans approve of the Canadian tariffs.

Research contact: @CBSNews

In tiff over tariffs with Trump, Americans favor Trudeau

June 20, 2018

More Americans see themselves aligned with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over trade policy than with U.S. President Donald Trump, a Global News/Ipsos poll released on June 16 has found. The results were released even as the tiff over tariffs between the two leaders—which escalated into a Trumpian Twitter battle after the G7 meeting in Toronto—continues to simmer.

Based on the findings, Trudeau enjoys a 20-point advantage over the U.S. president among Americans when it comes to which leader respondents think is better handling the discussions over tariffs and other trade issues, The Hill reports. Fully 57% of the 1, 005 U.S. respondents told the researchers that they support Trudeau’s actions, compared to just 37% who said the same for Trump.

Over 70% of those who participated in the poll think that the ongoing issue of tariffs imposed by the Trump administration has caused a significant breach in relations between the two formerly close allies. Indeed, Trump stunned many Beltway pundits by rebuking Trudeau after the Canadian PM announced reciprocal tariffs to match the U.S. duties on steel and aluminum following the summit of world leaders last weekend.

“PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, ‘US Tariffs were kind of insulting’ and he ‘will not be pushed around,’ ” Trump tweeted while on his way to Singapore to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“Very dishonest & weak,” the president added. “Our Tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!”

The poll results come on the heels of another survey from Monmouth University, which determined that most U.S. adults believe that Trump has a better relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin than with any other world leader.

Research contact: @Ipsos

Trump imposes steel, aluminum tariffs on EU, Canada and Mexico

June 1, 2018

The Trump administration will levy onerous steel and aluminum tariffs on its close allies—the European Union, Canada and Mexico—starting today, in a move likely to lead to retaliation and risk the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), The Hill reported.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a conference call with the media on May 31 that—following months of entreaties from the three trading partners—the president had decided to end temporary exemptions.

This is not a step that the American public support, based on results of a recent Quinnipiac Poll. U.S. voters oppose (50% to 31%) tariffs on steel and aluminum, and disagree (64% to 28%) with President Donald Trump’s claim that a trade war would be good for the U.S. and easily won, the researchers found.

Every listed party, gender, education, age and racial group opposes steel and aluminum tariffs, except for the Republicans, who support tariffs by a lackluster 58% to 20%; and white voters with no college degree, who are divided (42% to 40%).

American voters oppose these tariffs (59 % to 29%), Quinnipiac found, if these tariffs raise the cost of the goods they buy. Indeed,American voters disapprove (54% to 34%) of the way in which the POTUS is handling trade.

Ross said on Thursday, “We look forward to continued negotiations with Canada and Mexico on one hand; and with the European Commission on the other hand, as there are other issues we need to get resolved.”

The Commerce Secretary noted that the Trump administration would need to see the reactions of Canada, Mexico and the 28-nation EU bloc before determining what to do next.

But, The Hill reported, he said that U.S. officials are “quite willing and eager” to have further discussions with all of the parties.

The trading partners all had warned America that they intended to impose retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports, if President Trump made this move.

According to The Hill, the EU is expected to quickly retaliate with promised tariffs of about $3.3 billion on iconic American products such as bourbon, jeans and motorcycles.

Last year, nearly 50% of U.S. steel and aluminum imports came from the EU, Canada and Mexico. Trump first announced tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum for national security reasons in March.

Canada and Mexico also have said that tariffs are unacceptable, don’t affect U.S. national security and that their implementation could put the fate of NAFTA at stake.

Research contact: peter.brown@quinnipiac.edu