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Steel Plant Restarting Due to Trump's Proposed Tariffs

But experts still predict damage to US economy
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2018 12:48 PM CST
Steel Plant Restarting Due to Trump's Proposed Tariffs
In this March 25, 2015 photo, unidentified workers leave during a shift change at US Steel Corp's Granite City Works in Granite City, Illinois.   (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Huy Mach)

(Newser) – US Steel Corp says it will soon restart a blast furnace in Illinois that has been cold for over two years thanks to the 25% tariff on imported steel announced by President Trump last week, Politico reports. US Steel President David Burritt blames "unending waves of unfairly traded steel products" arriving in the US for the poor fortunes of steel workers in Granite City. He believes the planned tariff will turn that around. Restarting the blast furnace at Granite City Works will take up to four months. And while some believe Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum will be political winners, many experts are predicting harm to the US economy. Here's what you need to know:

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  • While officials say the final language for the tariffs hasn't been settled on yet, Trump is pushing for them to be put into place this week—possibly as soon as Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reports. “We are definitely going to end up with these tariffs, and we’re going to roll this out very, very quickly,” Steve Mnuchin says. Still an issue: whether Trump will exempt certain countries.
  • Meanwhile, Wilbur Ross is trying to calm the fears of lawmakers and the rest of the world. "He's already indicated a degree of flexibility," CNN quotes the commerce secretary as saying of Trump. "I think you're going to see, as you understand the details of what actually is going to happen, that we're not trying to blow up the world."
  • Regardless, the EU is still preparing to retaliate against the US if Trump's tariffs are implemented, the New York Times reports. A provisional list of US goods that could face new tariffs includes T-shirts, bed linen, chewing tobacco, cranberries, orange juice, peanut butter, bourbon, and motorcycles.
  • With economists warning of a potential 146,000 American jobs lost due to the proposed tariffs, Business Insider reveals the US states that could be hit hardest, including Louisiana, Connecticut, and Missouri.

  • Despite admitting the tariffs "will be economically costly," a report from Barclays finds they could still be smart politics for Trump because "free trade has become particularly unpopular with Republican voters," CNBC reports.
  • Alexandra Guisinger at the Washington Post agrees, writing that protectionism can be politically popular depending on the jobs being protected. And there's evidence steel jobs fit the bill.
  • But Noah Smith at Bloomberg writes the tariffs could be a "self-inflicted wound" for Trump. He says tariffs typically don't end up improving American industries. Rather they prevent industries from figuring out how to keep pace with global competitors, may lead to their products being seen as shoddy, and might hurt US manufacturers.
  • Finally, Trump may not be done making trade moves. Politico reports the president hinted on Twitter that he may soon go after China and its intellectual property practices.
(Read more tariffs stories.)

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