Trump announces tariffs on steel, aluminum imports; China cries foul

President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he would place tariffs on steel and aluminum imports to the United States.

President Donald Trump meets with leaders of the steel and aluminum industries at the White House on Thursday. Photo by Win McNamee/UPI | License Photo
President Donald Trump meets with leaders of the steel and aluminum industries at the White House on Thursday. Photo by Win McNamee/UPI | License Photo

Speaking at a White House meeting with business leaders, Trump said he would officially impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff for aluminum next week.

“You’ll have to regrow your industries, that’s all I’m asking,” he told the corporate leaders in attendance. Trump also said the tariffs will “be for a long period of time.”

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recommended the tariffs last month, saying in a report that the large amount those imports “threaten to impair the national security.”

Chinese officials condemned the prospects of U.S. tariffs ahead of the decision Thursday.

Beijing foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular news briefing Washington is not in compliance with World Trade Organization standards, and that Director-General of Trade Remedy and Investigation Bureau of the Ministry of Commerce Wang Hejun had already made complaints.

Wang said Wednesday the trade tariffs will hurt Chinese sectors, Xinhua reported.

“The United States ignored rules of the World Trade Organization and seriously damaged the interests of Chinese aluminum foil exporters,” Wang said.

On Thursday, Hua added the United States’ “unreasonable and excessive trade measures” will not only affect job creation in the United States but damage U.S. consumer interests.

Trump has said the tariffs would help U.S. businesses in those sectors.

“I want to keep prices down, but I also want to make sure that we have a steel industry and an aluminum industry, and we do need that for national defense,” Trump has said. “If we ever have a conflict, we don’t want to be buying the steel from a country that we’re fighting, because somehow that doesn’t work very well.”

By Elizabeth Shim and Samuel Howard