Two polls released this week say the tariffs are unpopular. As reported in the New York Times, a Heritage Foundation analysis of Commerce Department data finds that US mills and smelters that supply aluminum and steel raw materials today employ fewer than 200,000 people, while the USA companies that buy those inputs for making everything from cars, to beer cans, to chicken coops employ more than 6.5 million workers. Our jobs and incomes are tied up in highly interdependent, cross-border supply and production chains that go into making food, manufactured goods, and increasingly services. "We're looking to make sure that USA companies can compete fairly around the world", Mnuchin told lawmakers during a congressional committee hearing. Either way, we win. "If we do there won't be any tariffs on Canada, and there won't be any tariffs on Mexico". Bush wisely withdrew the tariffs. China has deepened its trading relationships with Canada and Mexico in recent years.
"There is a lot of concern among Republican senators that this could sort of metastasize into sort of a larger trade war, and many of our members are discussing with the administration just how broad, how sweeping this might be", Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said in his first comments on the issue. "Today, that number is only 160,000!" Unlike other high-skilled visa programs, the TN visa program contains no protections for American workers.
Even looking strictly at goods, the deficit is not large compared with years past. American avocados are scarce in winter, but Mexico grows them year-round. During a read-out of the conversation from Justin Trudeau's office, it was said that "The prime minister also registered his serious concern about the US administration's proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum".
Trade barriers, which are often scientifically unjustifiable but politically motivated, make economies weaker and less competitive over time. Apple ships minerals from 63 countries to 34 different countries for processing. Without NAFTA, tariffs will increase the cost of US goods for Canadian and Mexican firms, making chemicals and plastic products from China more affordable and attractive. And the Rust Belt is at the center of this export economy, generating 26 percent of export-derived GDP (Figure 1).
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has chatted with Pentagon counterpart James Mattis, UN ambassador Marc-Andre Blanchard has spoken with US counterpart Nikki Haley and Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr is raising the issue with Energy Secretary Rick Perry at a conference in Texas. An auto part may cross the U.S. The projects are expected to yield $310 billion in new economic output per year and create 465,000 direct and indirect jobs - many in regions of the US that need them the most. Do you understand what I mean by that?
"Tariffs are taxes, and the American taxpayer will pay the cost of a trade war", said Cody Lusk, president and CEO of the American International Automobile Dealers Association. But many, many more are much better off because of trade.
While Republicans in Washington tend to shy away from fights with the president, this time they're escalating the feud. Trade is a popular target.
By weakening NAFTA and imposing new tariffs on critical imports, President Trump would threaten the well-being of the very workers and communities that supported him most. While Canada and Mexico cited agreements on individual chapters as signs of progress, there's no sign of any breakthrough on the most controversial subjects that will be key to reaching a deal to update a pact that Trump has repeatedly threatened to quit.
John Stossel is author of "No They Can't!"