“You get better results by pointing a gun to the head”

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The Trump regime announced earlier this week they had struck a deal with Brazilian officials to permanently exempt the nation from Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum, but that may not be true.

Brazilian officials say their American counterparts actually called off their talks after telling them to either accept tariffs or adopt voluntary quotas.

Some industry officials had a little more than that to say.

From Reuters:

BRASILIA/SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil on Wednesday contradicted a United States announcement that the two countries had reached a deal on a permanent exemption from steel and aluminum import tariffs, saying the Trump administration had unilaterally cut off talks.

Representatives for Brazil’s industry decried U.S. negotiation tactics, which the head of the association for aluminum producers, Milton Rego, called “Al Capone-like.”

“You get better results by pointing a gun to the head,” he said.

I have a similar reaction almost every time I read a story about Trump's trade representatives. I can't imagine what it's like to actually deal with them.

It's not clear what's going to happen next, but I think we can see a pattern emerging. The Trump regime is also asking the European Union (EU) to voluntarily cut exports by adopting quotas and I get the impression that this is an attempt to save face. Imposing tariffs is ultimately going to hurt our economy more than it helps, but if other nations voluntarily adopt quotas it will look like they're responsible for it.

Every nation should call Trump's bluff and force him to actually impose the numerous tariff's he has temporarily delayed. That may be the only way to resolve this because, at least in that case, complaints can be filed at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the next session of Congress may feel compelled to get involved.

  • muselet

    Strong-arm tactics may work against contractors and other small businesses in New York City, but nations tend not to respond well.

    Perhaps someone in the Trump administration will learn that lesson eventually.


    • Because Trump doesn’t learn lessons, no one in his administration can and ultimately, neither can the country. This is a serious effing problem for the economy. I just hope I can get my home re-financed before the economy tanks again.