The most generous estimates offered by various economic policy shops say Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum imports could generate nearly 2,000 jobs in those industries, but that may not actually happen.
You see, the total gains the market saw after the tariffs were announced have already been completely wiped out.
Shares of U.S. Steel Corp. slipped in eight of the past nine days, erasing all the gains since Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recommended the levies to Trump. Nucor Corp. is heading for its second weekly decline as an 11 percent rally in mid-February lost steam.
The NYSE Arca Steel Index slipped 0.6 percent as of 10 a.m. [Thursday] in New York, poised for the lowest level in a month.
According to Bloomberg, Goldman Sachs says the most likely explanation for this is the fact that certain countries have been exempted from Trump's tariffs.
The most notable exemption is Canada. American companies import more steel from Canada than any other nation, but American companies also export more steel to Canada than any other nation. We have symbiotic relationship. We don't have a trade deficit with Canada.
Just as Trump's exemptions undercut gains in the metal industry, his policies may not spare other industries reliant on inputs from countries that aren't exempted.
It's almost as if the entire policy is stupid and trade wars don't actually help anyone.