By Chad Bown
President Trump, accompanied by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and others, talks about an executive memorandum on investigating steel imports (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
President Trump announced Thursday that he was directing the commerce secretary to investigate whether imports of steel were a threat to U.S. national security. This follows earlier administration plans to “self-initiate” – or start on its own – trade enforcement cases involving countries such as China, Mexico, Germany, Japan or South Korea.
Unlike many of Trump’s formal trade policy announcements, these moves could have an almost immediate impact. They will probably lead to more trade barriers and barriers that are poorly vetted. U.S. consumers will suffer, as well as manufacturers that rely on imported inputs to remain competitive, as will those companies’ employees.
While a political victory for anti-globalists, there will be unintended costs and redistribution. Self-initiated cases are also likely to raise barriers that don’t meet the international legal standards of the World Trade Organization, leading to disputes at the WTO and retaliation from trading partners.
Here’s how U.S. trade law works
To understand how self-initiation works, it’s first necessary to know what U.S. trade law is and who enforces it. Under U.S. trade …read more
Via:: Monkey Cage