WCCO listeners react to new tariffs — tend to support President Trump

US allies have vowed to retaliate, bringing the US closer to a trade war.

Dan Cook
June 01, 2018 - 1:51 pm

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Allies are reacting to the imposition of steel tariffs by the Trump administration.  The European Union, Canada and Mexico had initially been given a reprieve from the new levies, but those exemptions have now expired.  In response, those allies have vowed to impose tariffs of their own on US imports to their markets.

Mike Max, guest-hosting for John Hines, talked to Bloomberg reporter Joe Deaux on Friday and asked if this was a negotiating tactic on the part of President Trump to try and gain an advantage in NAFTA talks.

"It's certainly possible," Deaux said, "I think another way of looking at it though is that Trump has said very explicitly that he wanted tariffs and he wanted to put tariffs across the board, and he wanted to put them on everybody who wouldn't cooperate with him or agree with some sort of negotiated way to get around those tariffs; and ultimately he felt like the negotiations with Canada, the EU and others were not going the way he wanted them to and so he finally just came through and said forget it, we're just going to pass the tariffs."

While the specter of a trade war certainly looms large, a president who's displayed a pattern of trying to keep those he's negotiating with off-balance seems to be getting what he wants.

"That's why yesterday was so big," said Deaux, "we had already had these tariffs passed on a number of countries, but the fact that it came down on big trade allies?  It now opens the door for, wow, if Trump will do that to them, what else is he willing to do on other policies?"

During the segment more than a dozen listeners called and texted in, and most seemed to agree with the president's strategy.

"I think that's a little bit of what Trump is doing here," said John from Watertown, "he's going, you guys don't want to come to the table, but we have a huge deficit that we have to address in our trade, and we have to do something about it.  You can't continue to operate at a deficit."

"We're already paying more than we should," a listener named Nancy told Mike Max, "I think that he's just trying to level the playing field and bring the manufacturing jobs back to America."

Listen to the full audio here: