Trade War Fears Brewing After US Confirms Tariff
March 09, 2018
US tariff announcement prompts trade war fears, scramble for exemptions; Trump administration blocks Idaho efforts to undermine Obamacare; Economy added 313,000 jobs in February.
- US tariff announcement prompts trade war fears, scramble for exemptions. Global trading partners in East Asia expressed dismay after President Trump announced his intention to institute a 25% steel tariff and a 10% aluminum tariff on those goods imported into the US, with allies and friends of the United States (including Canada and Mexico) exempt from the tariff. China, which produces half of global steel, said it was “resolutely opposed” to the move, and would change its policy to “firmly defend its legitimate rights and interests.” The EU, Brazil and Argentina said they should not be targeted or would seek exemptions, leaving the focus on escalating trade tensions between President Trump and China. [Reuters]
- Trump administration blocks Idaho efforts to undermine Obamacare. Trump administration officials at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services blocked a request by the government of Idaho to allow insurers to sell plans not approved by the Affordable Care Act. Idaho governor CL “Butch” Otter had passed a controversial executive order that would allow insurers to sell plans that charge more for preexisting conditions or don’t meet mandatory coverage minimums. The administration issued a letter indicating that while they were sympathetic to the plight of states, “The [Affordable Care Act] remains the law and we have a duty to enforce and uphold the law.” [CNN]
Economic Indicators & News
- Economy added 313,000 jobs in February. Closely watched Department of Labor jobs data released Thursday reveal that the US economy had added over 313,000 jobs over the course of the month of February, an impressive figure indicating just how hot the jobs market has been in the past several months. While unemployment rates remain steady, the impact of strong job market growth will filter through the economy in the coming months, causing unemployment to, according to Gus Faucher, chief economist for PNC, bottom out at around 3.5%. Employers have net added jobs for 89 straight months. [Reuters]