Are We Headed Toward a Trade War and What Would That Mean?

Jake Neher/WDET

President Donald Trump stunned Washington and much of the global business world when he announced — seemingly in a spur of the moment decision — that he wants to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Leaders from around the world reacted with alarm and threatened a trade war with the possibility of raising tariffs on American-made products such as Harley motorcycles, Kentucky bourbon, and blue jeans.

Trump says he isn’t afraid of a trade war and that it would be easy for America to win.

Another startling twist to another confounding moment in the Trump presidency was the strong resistance Trump received this week from Congressional leaders within his own party.

Jordan Fabian, White House correspondent with The Hill, joins Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson to talk about this story and the fallout in Washington.

He’s not going to have a ton of defenders in his own party to go out and explain to their voters why the president is doing this,” says Fabian. ”He’s almost alone on an island on this one.”

But Fabian notes that this is the kind of policy that appeals directly to Trump’s base in places like Michigan, where voters gravitated to his tough stance on trade policies they feel have hurt their pocket books.

A lot of people last week were surprised in Washington that the president made this announcement,” he says. ”And I was almost a little surprised at the surprise.”

Henderson also speaks with Ravi Anupindi, an expert on global supply chains at UM’s Ross School of Business.

Anupindi says this doesn’t appear to be a real threat to China, and the steel industry controlled by that country.

It seems like this is a weapon he is using to get something out of the NAFTA negotiations,” says Anupindi.

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.

Image credit: NOAA

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