Trump is betting American families are willing to pay for his trade war

The result is that Americans will almost certainly face higher costs as companies pay more for parts they need to build cars, dishwashers and tractors, and then firms turn around and pass those higher prices onto consumers.

.. All of Trumps tariffs so far — on China, on steel and aluminum, on washing machines and on solar panels — will end up costing the average U.S. family $80 a year

.. If Trump continues to pile tariffs on China (he has threatened to do another $100 billion) and China retaliates, then the cost to the average family would rise to $210

.. 45,000 jobs will be lost because of the tariffs Trump has issued so far.

.. They also forecast a small hit to the economy and wages.

.. tariffs will hurt the economy because prices will rise, reducing profits for companies and costing consumers more.

Alternatively, tariffs could cause the U.S. dollar to rise, which usually makes it more difficult for American companies to sell their products abroad, another potential hit to jobs and the economy.

.. “When we lose $500 billion a year … in a trade deficit. When we lose hundreds of billions of dollars in intellectual property theft, not only China but others, we have to stop it. We can’t allow this to happen. So in a certain way, I call people patriots because … short-term you may have to take some problems. Long-term, you’re going to be so happy. You’re going to be so happy.”

.. Trump is calling on Americans to pay higher prices for a while because he thinks it will be worth it if he gets concessions from China and the E.U. It’s what economists and business leaders call a cost-benefit analysis, and Trump is arguing it will be worth it in the end.

.. higher costs don’t hit everyone equally.

The reality is every family isn’t going to pay $80. Some families are likely to pay hundreds or thousands or be the ones losing jobs and livelihoods, while most others probably won’t notice the price increases.

.. Gary Cohn, Trump’s former top economic adviser, went as far as to say Trump’s tariffs could wipe out the entire economic gains of the tax cuts

.. Trump and (most of) his top advisers say this is about winning the big economic war of the 21st century.

China and the United States are fighting for dominance in technology and biotechnology. Trump and his team say the United States won’t win if China keeps stealing American intellectual property and technology secrets.

.. But for the farmer or the small auto parts manufacturer that may have a terrible year or go out of business during the tariff battle, it probably won’t feel worth it.

U.S. allies see Trump’s steel tariffs as an insult

No world leader has tried harder to get on President Trump’s good side than Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Whether racing to New York the day after the 2016 election and presenting Trump with a $3,755 gold-plated golf driver, or taking him out on the golf course and serving hamburgers for lunch, Abe has cultivated a close personal relationship with his American counterpart.

.. But now, Japan, which is not just led by a friendly politician but also is a key security ally of the United States, looks likely to be slapped with tariffs on its steel exports to the United States. And to add insult to injury, the reason, Trump says, is rooted in national security.

“The U.S. is suddenly treating Japan as a target,” said Tsuyoshi Kawase, a professor of international trade policy at Sophia University in Tokyo. “The Japanese side is bewildered and confused.”

.. countries that figured, no matter the bumps in relations with Washington, they would wind up on the same side against China in any dispute over steel or unfair trade practices. And yet suddenly there is talk of a trade war between the United States and its supposed friends.

.. Even those leaders who have grown accustomed to the zigs and zags of the Trump White House say this could be different. The consequences of Trump’s targeting other priorities — the Paris climate agreement and the Iran nuclear deal chief among them — have not had an immediate, concrete effect. But the tariffs could soon put citizens in ally nations out of work, and if a trade war escalates, all sides could feel the pain, officials from Brasília to Brussels to Seoul say.“The impulsiveness of the decision caught us by surprise,” said Diego Bonomo, the head of foreign trade at the National Trade Association of Brazil. His country is the second-largest exporter of steel to the United States.

“It’s an economic shot in the foot,” he said. “When they impose tariffs to hurt Brazilian steel, they hurt their own coal exports and exports of products that use steel.”

.. Trump’s order came hours after Japan and 10 other countries formalized a new Pacific free-trade agreement

.. The announcement also upended a Saturday meeting of the top U.S., E.U. and Japanese trade negotiators, who were originally scheduled to convene to talk about how to take on what they say is China’s unfair support for its steel industry. Instead, officials say, the meeting may turn out to be the first salvo in an unfolding and escalating trade skirmish.

.. The frustration is compounded by Trump’s national security rationale. In fact, say U.S. allies, there is no national security risk to importing steel and aluminum from one’s closest military partners. And any move that damages their own industries also hits at overall NATO readiness and hurts trust among allies, they say.

.. But that response could backfire, some analysts say. If the WTO rules against the White House, and Trump chooses to ignore the ruling, that could effectively spell the end of the organization.

.. “To be honest, everyone kind of agrees with us,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss closed-door European efforts. “I haven’t found anyone who says, ‘No no, the president is right.’ ”

.. The prospect of steel tariffs follows on the heels of similar levies on solar panels and washing machines. But it comes at a sensitive time on the front of North Korean diplomacy.

..  tariffs could have a “negative impact on South Korea-U.S. relations,”

.. Many in Japan worry that Trump’s effort may ultimately undermine global security, not bolster it.

“When trade friction grows between allies, the alliance is weakened,” Watanabe said. “But it’s unclear if Trump understands that.”