Trump Says Trade Wars Are ‘Easy To Win’ And ‘Good’

Steel production at Stelco Inc. in Canada.Screengrab/Stelco/YouTube

President Trump tweeted Friday that trade wars are "easy" to win and seemed unconcerned about potential retaliation.

The backlash to President Donald Trump’s Thursday announcement of coming tariffs on imported steel and aluminum was swift -- numerous countries responded critically and some threatened to retaliate should the tariffs become a reality.

Markets fell following the news that steel imports would be taxed at 25 percent and aluminum at 10 percent.

But Friday morning, Trump took to Twitter in defense of his positions on trade and wrote off concerns of a potential trade war, indicating such wars are easy to win.

“When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore-we win big. It’s easy!”

Also saying that the American steel industry is in “very bad shape” and “IF YOU DON’T HAVE STEEL, YOU DON’T HAVE A COUNTRY!”, Trump doubled down on imposing new import taxes:

When a country Taxes our products coming in at, say, 50%, and we Tax the same product coming into our country at ZERO, not fair or smart. We will soon be starting RECIPROCAL TAXES so that we will charge the same thing as they charge us. $800 Billion Trade Deficit-have no choice!

The president said he expects to sign the trade measures next week and that they will remain “for a long period of time”.

Via NPR, a list of responses by foreign leaders after the shock announcement Thursday:

China: Beijing "urges the United States to show restraint in using protective trade measures, respect multilateral trade rules, and make a positive contribution to international trade order," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

Canada: "Canada will take responsive measures to defend its trade interests and workers," said Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, who called the proposed U.S. tariffs "absolutely unacceptable."

Mexico: Citing government sources, The Financial Times says that amid talks on the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, Mexico had "made it clear that if included [in tariffs], Mexico will have no other option than to react."

European Union: "We will not sit idly while our industry is hit with unfair measures that put thousands of European jobs at risk," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned. "The EU will react firmly and commensurately to defend our interests."

Germany: Berlin called on the EU to respond "with determination" to a move by Washington that was "not at all acceptable," Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said.

Australia: "The imposition of a tariff like this will do nothing other than distort trade and ultimately, we believe, will lead to a loss of jobs," Trade Minister Steven Ciobo told reporters in Sydney.

Brazil: The second-largest exporter of steel to the U.S. expressed "enormous concern" at the tariffs, saying these could cause significant damage to producers and consumers in both countries, NPR's Philip Reeves reports.

Japan: "I don't think exports of steel and aluminum from Japan, which is a U.S. ally, damages U.S. national security in any way, and we would like to explain that to the U.S.," Japanese Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko said.