Trump has stood by the tariffs, despite resistance from his fellow Republicans and other countries, which have vowed to respond with levies of their own, and on Thursday, Trump pressed ahead with the imposition of 25 percent tariffs on steel imports and 10 percent for aluminum. But he exempted Canada and Mexico, backtracking from earlier pledges of tariffs on all countries, while other countries can apply for exemptions.
The announcement was viewed by investors as a watered-down version of the initial plans, to be used potentially as leverage involving NAFTA and other agreements. But investors still worried about whether this would be the first salvo in a broader trade conflict that could prompt retaliation.
“It is good news to see Canada and Mexico carve out. It is also good news to see some flexibility on others,” said David Kotok, chairman and chief investment officer with Cumberland Advisors in Sarasota, Florida. “The whole theme of tariffs, quotas, barriers is still troubling. No one wins in a trade war.”
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