US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has defended President Donald Trump’s proposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, saying it would help correct a decades-old policy that has given away all kinds of concessions to countries like China and Germany ever since the end of World War II. Trump on Thursday proposed slapping a 25 per cent tariff on imported steel and a 10 per cent tariff on imported aluminum. Ross dismissed concerns that European nations may respond by placing tariffs on American goods. “Think about it, we have unilaterally given away all kinds of concessions ever since the end of World War II. And in the beginning that was probably good policy to rebuild Europe and rebuild Asia after the ravages of the war,” Ross told ABC News. “The mistake that our trade negotiators made way back then and continued to make was not time limiting it, concessions that were perfectly reasonable to make to Germany in 1945 or China in 1945 don’t make sense anymore.
Those are now very mature, big, strong economies,” Ross said. “So, there’s a lot of history that needs to be undone,” he said ahead of President Trump signing an executive order that would impose tariffs on aluminium. Trump is expected to sign it next week. There has been sharp reaction from countries with the European Union and China indicting retaliatory measures. Trump in a series of tweets early this week said that it would not work and the US would impose additional tariffs on other items. “If the EU wants to further increase their already massive tariffs and barriers on US companies doing business there, we will simply apply a tax on their cars, which freely pour into the US. They make it impossible for our cars and more to sell there. Big trade imbalance,” Trump said. In another tweet, Trump said that trade wars are good and easy to win. “I think what the president had in mind was that unlike the Smoot-Hawley days in the 1930s, back then US had a big trade surplus and the world was in a depression. Now, we have a big trade deficit. Well, if we have big trade deficit with our other partners, they have a lot more to lose than we do, because those hundreds of billions of dollars are in their pockets now, not ours,” Ross explained.