No New Nafta Until Tariffs Have Been Lifted
Read the full article on WSJ.com: https://www.wsj.com/articles/no-new-nafta-until-tariffs-have-been-lifted-1544395870
Economists across the political spectrum have cautioned President Trump against tariffs for the harms they inflict on the U.S. economy. That hasn’t stopped the president from imposing them on imports from allies and adversaries alike. Fortunately, with the signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, at least some of the tariffs the administration has imposed can be lifted.
That’s what Mr. Trump said he would do. In March he tweeted: “Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum will only come off if new & fair NAFTA agreement is signed.” Senior Trump administration officials such as Larry Kudlow and Steven Mnuchin echoed that tariffs were a negotiating tactic to get to a better deal. Well, now we have that deal—“the most modern, up-to-date, and balanced trade agreement in the history of our country,” according to the president…
But for some reason the Trump administration is dithering. . . .
The ball is now in Congress’s court. Congress need not be limited by the president’s take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum on USMCA. Instead, the House speaker and Senate majority leader should refuse to bring the USMCA implementing legislation up for a vote until after Mr. Trump lifts the tariffs, at least with respect to Canada and Mexico.
. . .
By increasing the cost of raw materials, the tariffs are essentially taxes on U.S. companies. They make American-made products more expensive for U.S. consumers and less competitive abroad. They raise the price Americans pay for cars by around $300, according to Morningstar analysts. . . .
Now that the USMCA has been signed, there is no reason for the tariffs on steel and aluminum to remain in place. U.S. consumers and businesses have endured them long enough. Congress should not consider the USMCA legislation until after the tariffs have been removed. There should be no question that President Trump will keep his word about ending the tariffs once a “new & fair NAFTA agreement is signed.” The signing happened Nov. 30; the tariffs should be removed today.