President Donald Trump said the U.S. plans to impose 25 percent tariffs on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum, and expects to sign a formal order next week. The stock market is getting hit hard on the news while stocks in the steel sector are reaction, with US Steel (X) and AK Steel (AKS) big movers.

“We’ll be imposing tariffs on steel imports” and “on aluminum imports,” Trump told metals industry executives at the White House on Thursday. “Some time next week we’ll be signing it in. And you’re going to have protection for the first time in a long time.”

“It will be 25 percent for steel. It will be 10 percent for aluminum,” he said in response to a question from reporters.

There was confusion Thursday morning after the White House retreated from an announcement over trade. On Wednesday night, Trump looked set to announce stiff tariffs on steel and aluminum, and industry CEOs were sent a last-minute invitation to the White House for a meeting with the president planned for Thursday. Trump then held a “listening session” with chief executives included ArcelorMittal USA’s John Brett, Nucor Corp.’s John Ferriola and Century Aluminum Co.’s Mike Bless.

Trump has been considering a range of options to curb imports of steel and aluminum, after the Commerce Department concluded that shipments of the two commodities hurt U.S. national security.

“Our Steel and Aluminum industries (and many others) have been decimated by decades of unfair trade and bad policy with countries from around the world,” Trump said in a Twitter posting Thursday morning. “We must not let our country, companies and workers be taken advantage of any longer. We want free, fair and SMART TRADE!”

A U.S. move on tariffs may provoke retaliation from China, the world’s biggest steel and aluminum producer. China has already launched a probe into U.S. imports of sorghum, and is studying whether to restrict shipments of U.S. soybeans — targets that could hurt Trump’s support in some farming states. While China accounts for just a fraction of U.S. imports of the metals, it’s accused of flooding the global market and dragging down prices.

China Talks

It could add to tensions between the world’s two-biggest economies on the same day Chinese President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser, Liu He, is scheduled to meet Trump’s senior economic team in Washington — including White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Foreign government officials have traveled to Washington in recent days to voice their concern about tariffs. Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo was said to warn the administration about his country’s plans for retaliatory measures. Trump is also under pressure from members of his own Republican party to tread lightly to avoid triggering global retaliation and amid concerns of higher prices for consumer goods.

However, American steel producers and workers have called on Trump to defend their industry as it grapples with the effects of overcapacity in China.

Last April, the president ordered Commerce to study the impact of steel and aluminum imports on national security under seldom-used section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act. Commerce submitted its final reports to the president in January.


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