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The Method And The Madness Of Trump’s Tariff Scheme

Dr. Harry G. Broadman

By Harry G. Broadman (original source Forbes)

“When President Trump signed an Executive Order on March 11, 2018 that set forth a plan to impose prospectively import tariffs on steel of 25% and on aluminum of 10% for countries exporting those products to the U.S., most of us trade negotiation veterans were startled. Literally. You should be too.

We were taken aback for two reasons.  First, the legal basis on which the Executive Order appealed is arcane and rarely invoked.  Second, the mechanics of how the tariffs would be applied—under a dangled threat, where countries would have to belly up to the table one-by-one and seek exclusions from Mr. Trump until the Executive Order becomes effective on March 23, 2018—are unprecedented, set in motion a dynamic that threatens to unravel the multilaterally agreed rules-based world trading system for which the U.S. has been the primary champion for more than 70 years, and plunges an extraordinarily wide swath of industries lying at the core of world economic growth into uncertainty.”

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