I’ve been planning a longer post on why Trump’s foreign policy is succeeding so well this weekend (spoiler: The US political establishment, particularly the Democrats, are a bunch of corrupt zealots who are both dumb and arrogant and thus easy to get the better of in any negotiation, and Trump is the first US leader in almost three decades who isn’t).
For now, though, we can continue to sit back and enjoy the dividends as he continues to bring the hammer down on the recalcitrant anti-American ideologues running the EU, Canada, and Mexico while rewarding friends in other countries:
The United States ended a delay of steel and aluminum tariffs for the European Union, Canada, and Mexico with a proclamation on Thursday.
The proclamation means that steel and aluminum tariffs of 25 and 10 percent, respectively, temporarily delayed for these and various other countries, will now be imposed on the EU, Canada, and Mexico.
Canada and Mexico were given the delay pending the ongoing NAFTA trade negotiations. Those negotiations have continued, but U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has expressed at times that the negotiations have not progressed as quickly as had been hoped.
The U.S. came to “satisfactory alternative” agreements with Argentina, Australia, and Brazil to extend exemption while details of those were finalized. The agreements were outlined in Thursday’s proclamation.
Here’s the bottom line on the trade policy. Trump has begun aggressively using tariffs to achieve his various policy goals in respect to these countries. Most of our trade partners have been happily employing protectionist policies for years while reaping the dividends of tariff-free access to the US market. Trump is now signalling the free ride at the expense of the US working class is now over.
These countries actually have very little leverage against us. They are entirely dependent on the Washington establishment’s corruption and stupidity to keep their economies going, and now that we have finally elected someone who isn’t a total idiot, they are finding themselves backed into a corner.
Smarter, less ideologically rigid countries like Australia, Brazil, and Argentina have recognized the new reality and are seeking accommodation. The more inflexible leftists running Canada, Mexico, and the EU however don’t want to cut deals with the US, which they view as an inferior, and believe they can continue dicatating terms to us. As a result, Trump is going to give them a few reminders of the position they are really in.