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Peter Morici: Trump’s trade gambit

President Donald Trump is taking a high-stakes gamble on trade. Tariffs on steel and aluminum won’t have the huge impacts on supply chains that critics often claim, but those stand to upset the whole global trading system and specifically, the role of the World Trade Organization.

The lesson from the 2002 safeguard tariff is, after a brief price spike, the ultimate impact on material prices should be about half the 25% and 10% tariffs on steel and aluminum. Simply, foreign suppliers will find ways to cut costs and accept slimmer margins, and new domestic supplies will come on line.

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