Steel and aluminum tariff from US might deal major blow to Israel’s economy

by Leah Rosenberg

President Trump is resolute about a trade war against many countries and has imposed a tariff on steel and aluminum. But is Israel now also going to be a casualty of the new US policy?  This may be one of the few issues that Israel will have to take it on the chin vis-a-vis President Trump.

Shaking Up World Trade

In March 2018, President Trump decided to impose stiff taxes on all imports of steel and aluminum into the US.  This is a major issue for a multitude of countries.  There are some countries who the United States granted exemptions to.  However, it is a major headache for much of the world.

Often pundits criticize President Trump for policies that lead to trade wars.  However, he has always been clear on this issue from the time of his presidential campaign.  He believes that the United States is being taken advantage of – especially by China.  Twenty years ago, he accused Japan of taking advantage of the United States.  This is not a new issue for Trump.

One thing is clear – he is here to shake up world trade.

The US Steel Industry

A big part of the steel industry in the US is located in critical states that President Trump absolutely needs for reelection. The rust-belt states may have been the most critical group of States that turned the election in his favor.

Hillary Clinton made a few clear mistakes when she discussed the steel industry.  On the other hand, Donald Trump is perhaps most believable when he talks about jobs and economic prosperity.

This led to a few states that were often democratic turning red and voting Republican. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin are all critical battleground states.  All of them are in the rust-belt.

Democratic support for President Trump

Reuters reported that rust-belt Democrats actually praised some of President Trump’s tariff on steel and aluminum.  This is not typical.  If Democrats support him on the issue and President Trump can win some brownie points in battleground states, he will probably not back down.  That combination is rare.

One Democrat put it this way:  “China has been eating our lunch for decades. These actions will protect good-paying jobs in Ohio and across the country.”  That’s a tweet from Democratic Representative Tim Ryan from northeastern Ohio.  In this time of huge polarization, President Trump’s America-first policy on steel may be the trend for the future.




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