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Home > News > With manufacturing slowing down, Trump ratchets up trade wars

With manufacturing slowing down, Trump ratchets up trade wars


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President Donald Trump has escalated trade tensions across the globe by imposing tariffs on foreign steel, threatening tariffs on allies like the European Union and engaging in a tit-for-tat trade war with China that has hurt American farmers.

The President has made striking new trade deals that protect US industries a top priority, but two of his key agreements haven't been settled. Negotiations with China are ongoing and, about a year after Trump signed his replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement, Congress still hasn't voted to ratify the deal.

Key events in Trump's China trade talks

Key events in Trump's China trade talks

And his longstanding pledge to revive American manufacturing through a muscular trade policy took another hit Monday with new data showing that the sector continued to slow for a fourth straight month.

US manufacturing "is stuck in a mild recession with little prospect of a real near-term revival," said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, in a note Monday.

While job growth and consumer spending remain strong, keeping the US economy moving, trade uncertainty has been a drag on business growth. It's challenging for those business owners engaged in trade to make investments and pricing decisions when they don't know how long tariffs will last. Plus, the tariffs make some manufacturing inputs more expensive. New orders are the lowest they've been since April 2009, noted Shepherdson.

Trump is continuing to escalate trade tensions. On Monday, the President also announced tariffs on steel and aluminum coming from Brazil and Argentina. He said the duties would help manufacturers and farmers, which are two of his key political demographics.