President Donald Trump (R) lifted his tariffs against Mexico and Canada, but is he scaling up on China. So what about cars, steel, aluminium, washing machines, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba and Huawei?
Cars: Trump asked for and received a government study on car imports. He was particularly angered last November when General Motors announced that it was closing car assembly plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland. Trump has threatened to impose a 25% tariff on imported cars in retaliation for GM’s moves.
Steel & Aluminum: The Trump administration has reached a deal with both of its North American partners to lift tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico.
Washing Machines: The Trump administration implemented a three-year tariff rate quota on residential washing machines and parts. The government determined that washer imports were injuring Whirlpool Corporation, the petitioning company and primary domestic manufacturer. The U.S. International Trade Commission recently initiated an investigation to monitor the impact of the tariffs.
Iran: The Trump administration has placed a “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran.
North Korea: The White House and the United Nations have banned nearly 90% of refined petroleum product exports to North Korea and are demanding that all North Koreans working abroad be sent home within 24 months. The UN Security Council has passed nearly a dozen resolutions, all unanimously, condemning North Korea for its nuclear pursuits and imposing sanctions. Over time, the measures have expanded to:
- A ban on trade of arms and military equipment
- Dual-use technologies
- Industrial machinery and metals
The U.S. has also frozen the asset of individuals involved in the country’s nuclear program. The non-military sanctions on North Korea include:
- Banning the import of certain luxury goods
- Banning the export of electrical equipment, coal, minerals, seafood and other food and agricultural products, wood, textiles, and stones
- Capping North Korean labor exports
- Capping imports of oil and refined petroleum products
- Banning natural gas imports
- Restrict fishing rights
Venezuela: The U.S. Treasury Department increase its pressure on Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA by making clear that exports of diluents by other international trade and shipping firms could be subject to U.S. sanctions. Trump’s ban also bars the entrance of certain high government officials and their immediate families to the U.S., but not the country’s at-large citizens. Trump is trying to reduce support for, and remove, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Huawei: The Chinese tech company is seen as an intelligence threat. President Trump used an executive order to declare a national emergency over threats to American technology. Tech giant Google suspended all business requiring the transfer of hardware, software, and technical services with the firm. Huawei smartphones will lose access to popular Google apps, like YouTube and Maps, as well as security updates. Those publicly available, via open source licensing, would not appear to be affected. The move comes days after the Trump administration blacklisted Huawei, prohibiting American firms from trading with the company without a license.
Cuba: The Trump Administration banned cruises to Cuba under new restrictions on U.S. travel to the Caribbean island. The move is part of an effort to increase pressure on the communist government to reform and stop supporting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Just as one ban, tariff or sanction comes to an end, the White House appears ready with a new one. It’s too early to tell whether this strategy is producing net benefits for the United States.