Here Are The Countries Hit The Hardest From Trump's Steel Tariffs


President Donald Trump’s proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports have been one of the most controversial measures the president has taken thus far, both among Republicans and Democrats.

For more mainstream Democrats, who support free trade and treaties to tie the countries of the world closer together, the tariffs are further evidence of Trump’s tendencies toward isolationism and away from a globalist economy. More liberal Democrats have pressed for tariffs for some time, including during the Obama administration, but supporting anything Trump-related is pretty much toxic.

For conservatives, meanwhile, free trade has always been one of the cornerstones of a growing economy; the fact that Trump seems to be rejecting one of the key tenets of trade is a worrying thing indeed.

Several key Republicans — including Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and Kevin Brady — have expressed, at the very least, concerns about the 25 percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum. China, meanwhile, has predicted a “disaster” if the tariffs are enacted and the European Union is more or less demanding that their exports be exempt from the tariffs.

However, for the moment, the president is standing firm — at least, unless NAFTA is renegotiated.

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So, who will end up getting hurt by the new tariffs? Fox Business put together a handy chart which shows exactly who is going to end up losing out big league if the tariffs go into effect.

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Canada would be the biggest loser were the tariffs to go into effect, considering they export 16.1 percent of the steel we use in America. However, things might not be so bad for our hockey-loving neighbors in the north. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — of “peoplekind” fame — told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that he had a “level of confidence” that he could secure an exemption from the United States after a series of phone calls with President Trump.

Then, on Thursday, the president announced Canada and Mexico would be exempt from the tariffs, at least for the moment — provided NAFTA renegotiations went smoothly enough.

Brazil is in second place with 13 percent. According to The New York Times, Brazil is also trying to secure an exemption on the grounds that the country imported $1 billion of American coal to fuel its coal industry alone; such a tariff could have a negative impact on the recovery of America’s coal industry.

Third is South Korea, which you might think would have the easiest time securing an exemption. After all, South Korea is key to America’s strategy to contain the North Koreans.

However, as The Times points out, the issue is more complicated than that: “Despite South Korea’s critical role in defusing tensions with North Korea, the Trump administration has claimed the country is a conduit for Chinese steel evading anti-dumping rules — a practice known as transshipping,” the paper reported Friday.

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South Korea insists that only 2.4 percent of its steel exports to the United States originated in China. However, the notable absence of China on this list — along with their vociferous protests against the tariff — proves, at some level, that the dumping strategy exists at some level.

The fourth biggest steel exporter to the United States is Mexico, which also has a temporary exemption based off of NAFTA renegotiation. However, unlike Canada, Mexico’s relationship with the Trump administration is a bit more tenuous for reasons that likely don’t need explication. Could this mean their reprieve is a bit less secure than Canada’s? We’ll certainly see in the weeks and months to come.

Finally, there’s Russia, which exports 8.7 percent of our imported steel. Unsurprisingly, talk of Russia getting an exemption is, uh, pretty much nonexistent.

There are still a lot of questions about this tariff and who it will affect — or whether it will even go into effect, considering that the president seems to have achieved his stated goal of getting NAFTA signatories to the table. However, if it does and the exemptions aren’t permanent, these are the countries that are going to suffer most.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture