President Donald Trump will announce steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports today, Bloomberg reported citing people familiar with the matter, in what would be one of his toughest actions yet to implement a hawkish trade agenda that risks antagonising friends and foes alike.
According to two people who did not wish to be identified as the deliberations are not public, Trump told aides he wants to announce tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum from all countries.
One person added the details of the decision may still change, and some countries may possibly be granted exemptions.
Trump has been mulling several options to curb imports of steel and aluminum, after the Commerce Department concluded shipments of the two metals hurt US national security. Trump told confidantes, that he was leaning toward a 24 per cent tariff on steel, the harshest of the alternatives given to him by the Department of Commerce.
According to commentators, the US move may provoke retaliation from China, the world's biggest steel and aluminum producer, at a time when president Xi Jinping's top economic adviser, Liu He, has been dispatched to the US in an attempt to defuse tensions.
China has already started to probe US imports of sorghum, and is studying whether to restrict shipments of US soybeans, which could hit Trump's support in some politically important farming states.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration has summoned steel and aluminium executives on short notice for a White House meeting today, for a possible announcement on long-awaited curbs on steel and aluminium imports, The Australian reported.
According to the people, executives from companies in the two industries had been invited to the White House for a midday meeting with president Donald Trump, and that Trump and some of his advisers were hoping to use that event to announce broad tariffs or quotas.