News analysis

US tariffs: Trade deficit hawks encounter severe turbulence

WASHINGTON - US President Donald Trump's announcement on Thursday (March 1) of his intent to slap a 25 per cent tariff on imported steel, and 10 per cent on imported aluminium, reflected the ascendancy of trade deficit hawk Dr Peter Navarro in the White House, and saw top economic advisor Mr Gary Cohn, an ex-Goldman Sachs banker, overruled.

China will not be significantly affected by the tariffs because it does not export much steel to the US. But the announcement would certainly have concerned visiting Chinese vice premier Mr Liu He, analysts say - not least because Mr Trump has said he is contemplating a "fine" on China for violating intellectual property rights (IPR). A decision on this is expected soon. Mr Trump has delivered evidence that he is not to be underestimated.

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