Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Politics
Economics

Losers Outweigh Winners as Trump's Metal Tariffs Start Year Two

  • Steel, aluminum’s ‘easy to win’ trade war isn’t so simple
  • U.S. manufacturing activity has dropped steadily since August
Donald Trump after speaking at the U.S. Steel Corp. Granite City Works facility in Illinois, 2018

Donald Trump after speaking at the U.S. Steel Corp. Granite City Works facility in Illinois, 2018

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
Updated on

So far, trade wars don’t seem to be as "good, and easy to win" as U.S. President Donald Trump promised a year ago when he imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

The scorecard shows a split decision. U.S. steelmakers Nucor Corp. and United States Steel Corp. saw significant profit gains in 2018. But manufacturers that buy the metal -- led by Caterpillar Inc., a top three U.S. exporter -- say the tariffs have hurt profits, spurred layoffs and forced some companies to rework supply chains in ways that undercut use of American workers.