The Trump Administration announced Thursday that planned tariffs on metal will go into effect at midnight, levying a 10% surcharge on all aluminum and a 25% surcharge on all steel originating in Canada, Mexico, and the European Union.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross confirmed the plan on a phone call with reporters Thursday morning, according to The New York Times.
The Trump Administration, which announced plans to tax imports of raw metal back in March, had been using the threat of tariffs as a bargaining tactic to re-negotiate trade relationships within North America and between the United States and the European Union. Ross said Thursday that trade talks are “ongoing,” but that the U.S. hasn’t seen the kind of progress they’d expect, so they aren’t interested in delaying the tariffs.
The U.S. had reportedly hoped that Europe would voluntarily reduce metal shipments and cut their own tariffs on American products, but the E.U. simply didn’t agree, even though the U.K. said they’d like to “liberalize” trade relations with the U.S..
Although they aren’t saying it explicitly, the Trump Administration is likely looking to ink a trade deal with important trading partners quickly and with good terms. The threat of tariffs worked with China; after only a few days under a new “trade deal” imposed unilaterally by Trump Administration negotiators, China agreed to make changes to the partnership that would gradually decrease the trade deficit between the two countries.
Trump is clearly looking to repeat that success.