While the financial elite, and conservatives alike have been processing and responding to the news of a new tariff on steel and aluminum – Trump did something even more unexpected.
While many GOP lawmakers have decried the tariff as a government imposition into the free market, Trump announced that he would not impose the tariff on two specific countries only; Canada, and Mexico.
The White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters, “There are potential carve-outs for Mexico and Canada based on national security, and possibly other countries as well, based on that process.” She further added that other nations may also receive an exemption.
“That would be a case-by-case and country-by-country basis but it would be determined [by] whether or not there is a national security exemption,” she said.
White House Trade Advisor, Peter Navarro, appeared in an interview on Fox News Sunday to offer clarification. He noted, “As soon as he starts exempting countries, he has to raise the tariff on everybody else.”
Allaying the concerns of the gobal financial elite, Wilbur Ross, the Commerce Secretary, said in a statement that the administration is not looking to initiate a trade war. “We’re not trying to blow up the world,” he insisted on CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box.’
“There’s no intention of that. We want to balance our needs to fix the trade deficit with the needs of the economy, and the needs of the global economy itself,” he added.
According to sources within the White House, it is believed that President Trump is using the threat of steep tariffs as a bargaining chip in his long-term goal to completely overhaul and end the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).