Trade

Trump Also Wants to Impose Tariffs on… Australia?

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Trump announced that he would impose tariffs on all goods imported from Mexico last week and his whims almost prompted him to impose tariffs on Australian goods as well according to the New York Times.

The Times reports that Trump was talked out of the decision by the Pentagon and the State Department at the last minute.

Some of President Donald Trump’s top trade advisers had urged the tariffs as a response to a surge of Australian aluminum flowing onto the U.S. market during the past year. But officials at the Defense and State departments told Trump the move would alienate a top ally and could come at significant cost to the United States. [...]

Robert Lighthizer, U.S. trade representative, and Peter Navarro, director of the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, were among the backers of tariffs on Australia. But other senior administration officials, who have cultivated ties to Australia, favor prioritizing other elements of the relationship.

The Times reports that Trump only temporarily delayed his decision to impose tariffs on Australian goods, meaning it's possible (I would say likely) that we'll see this happen at some point in the relatively near future.

Trump's tariffs would primarily target imports of Australian aluminum according to the Times, but other goods could be targeted as well.

Unlike other countries, Australia actually imports more ($47 billion) from the United States that it exports ($18 billion) to the United States. That gives Australia plenty of room to maneuver and plenty of targets to impose retaliatory tariffs on if Trump pushes the big red button.

If Trump starts a trade war with one of the only countries we have a trade surplus with, that should put the lie to this idea that he's waging a war for economic reasons.

  • muselet

    Why go after Australia, for pity’s sake? Does Donald Trump have Vegemite and Tim Tams that much?

    Sorry, I must have forgotten, this is Donald Trump we’re talking about. Logic does not apply.

    –alopecia

  • gescove

    Trump is only able to play tarriff patty cake because of a supine Congress. Where’s the national emergency? Where’s the enforcement of the 150-day deadline for “emergency” tarriff renewal? Where the hell is Congress? Freeping Jeebus.

    • Draxiar

      I’ve been wondering the same thing. The apparent inaction is deafening.