Europe Ready to Battle With Trump Over Steel Threat

G-20 reaches compromise on climate trade in big win for Trump

The prevailing sentiment was that the investigation's results would give Donald Trump the opportunity to crack down on steel imports, and that is an opportunity he would most likely capitalize on.

World leaders reached a compromise on trade at the Group of 20 summit as officials agreed to fight protectionism while tacitly recognizing U.S. President Donald Trump's concerns about excess steel capacity and what he says are unfair trade practices.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government has been privately assured by the USA that Canada won't be affected by any steel measures, according to a Canadian government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Trump's looming decision on punitive steel tariffs hangs in the air as Group of 20 leaders meet in Hamburg, Germany with trade among the most divisive issues.

Policies that could fall under national security include China's new Cyber Security Act, which is under WTO scrutiny from Japan, South Korea, the United States and others; Ukraine's gas pipeline reforms; and Russia's trade restrictions on Ukraine.

Earlier this week, Abe and representatives of the European Union signed a political agreement for a trade deal that will cover more than a quarter of global economic output.

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China pledged to reduce the country's annual steel capacity by as much as 150 million tons before 2020, but the country remains the world's largest steel producer and accounts for almost half of the globe's total steel production.

One day later, Axios reported that Trump is leaning toward proposing tariffs of about 20 percent on steel and potentially other imports such as aluminum, paper, semiconductors or appliances. They are hoping to galvanize other countries at the G-20 to work together to confront China over its government support for the domestic steel industry, with the idea that joint pressure could be more effective and remove the possibility that the United States has to move alone. His point was that it doesn't make sense to talk about bilateral trade deficits in a multilateral world, the official said.

The tariffs could very well provoke a global trade war.

The administration argues that the U.S.is too dependent on foreign steel for military equipment and infrastructure such as roads and bridges. That is why steel-consuming companies in the United States, and many of his own more prudent advisers, are urging Trump not to act as if the US national interest were equivalent to the narrow interests of the protection-craving steel industry.

Several of those exporters-Canada, Turkey, and Germany-are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and as such the Trump administration may have to show that their strategic partners in the military alliance are somehow threatening USA national security interests. Indeed, analysts have warned that tariffs could drive up steel prices for USA manufacturers. "I think that there are some concerns about the systemic implications about going down that route for the worldwide trading system".

His counterparts are bracing for fresh surprises after Trump stunned the world by pulling out of the 2015 Paris climate pact, questioned long-standing North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allegiances and dismissed free trade principles.

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