Russia’s Economic Development Minister, Maksim Oreshkin, has announced that Moscow is preparing a list of goods imported from the USA to be targets of countermeasures designed to respond to Trump’s metals tariffs. The goods to be targeted are to be those which possess a domestically produced alternative, and the economic impact is estimated to meet that which is levied against Russia.
Moscow will seek to retaliate against Washington’s unilaterally imposed steel & aluminum tariffs against Russia and other producers, said Russian Economic Development Minister Maksim Oreshkin.
“The US continues to apply protective measures by imposing additional import duties on steel and aluminum, and refuses to provide compensation for Russia’s losses. That is why Russia is using its WTO rights and introducing balancing measures with respect to imports from the United States,” he said on Tuesday.
The US recently imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum. The trade penalties – 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum – took effect on June 1.
Russia’s response will apply to American goods that have an alternative produced within the country, Oreshkin said. In May, Russia informed the WTO about possible retaliatory measures in the amount of $538 million – exactly the same sum it stands to lose from America’s restrictions. The detailed list of affected American goods coming to Russia will be published within the next few days.
China, Russia, Japan, India, Turkey and the European Union have all said they don’t agree with the American tariffs on steel and aluminum, saying they cannot be explained by US security concerns – the pretext Washington has used to explain its actions. The affected countries will reportedly seek financial restoration through the WTO to the tune of $3.5 billion per year.
Of course, none of the nations which have contemplated Trump’s motivations offer solid explanations for why these tariffs are applied as a national security measure, when none of them are threats to America’s national security, least of all its largest trade partners and allies, like China, the EU, Canada, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, India, etc. But for Trump, the national security excuse is perfectly valid for two reasons.
First, the president’s powers are broadened when a matter concerns national security. Under normal conditions, tariffs are something that the legislative body must consider and approve, whereas when the excuse of national security is utilized, the President gets to dodge Congress and go about doing what he wants to do anyway, which, in this case, is tariff the nations of the world to solve the trade deficit issue.
Second, for Trump, having a trade deficit and relying on other nations for our goods actually does serve as a threat to America’s security. If America found itself in conflict with any of these nations, it could suddenly lose its supply of whatever goods America traded with them for, and when that comes to pivotal raw materials like steel and aluminum, that’s major.
From another angle, Trump may have been drinking too much of the right wing ideological Kool-Aid and be of the opinion that trade deficits pose an intrinsic threat to the nation’s economic security. Therefore, for Trump, using the ‘national security’ line as his excuse for levying his global and targeted tariffs regimes makes perfect sense. For the rest of the world, it looks like narcissistic rubbish which escaped the can.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.