Amid all the furor over the Trump administration's move to slap tariffs on steel an aluminum, one person taking a victory lap is Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. "But as of the moment, as far as I know, he's talking about a fairly broad brush".
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Sunday said the impact of President Donald Trump's recently announced tariffs on imported steel and aluminum would be minor when it comes to some of America's favorite products: beer and cars.
Numerous ministers from around the world have been in touch with Trump and administration officials including Ross, hinting at an intensive behind-the-scenes effort to change the US president's mind, the commerce secretary said.
"Any new broad-based tariffs on imported tin plate steel - an insufficient amount of which is produced in the US - will result in higher prices on one of the safest and more affordable parts of the food supply".
A frequent target of Mr Trump's criticism on trade, China accounts for 2 per cent of United States steel imports.
Peter Navarro, director of the White House National Trade Council, said countries will not be excluded from the tariffs because that would become a slippery slope, but there will be a mechanism for corporate exemptions in some cases. I know that a lot of ministers from a lot of countries have been talking with the president.
The Business Roundtable, a group of numerous most powerful American executives, chaired by JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, decried the administration's decision to implement the tariffs, saying it would hurt the USA economy, American companies, workers and consumers and result in "foreign retaliation against US exporters".
"We'll see. The president makes the decision", Ross said on NBC's "Meet the Press" program. "China wins when we are fighting with Europe", Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said on Fox. "Who in the world is going to be too bothered?"
"Sure there may well be some sort of retaliation, but the amounts that they're talking about are also pretty trivial". "The impact on a can of beer will be a fraction of 1%".
Ross said the proposed tariffs represent a fraction of 1 percent of the US economy so they would not have a great impact.
"There will be an exemption procedure for particular cases where we need to have exemptions, so that business can move forward", Mr Navarro said on CNN's State of the Union program.
"As soon as you start exempting countries you have to raise the tariffs on everybody else".
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May expressed "deep concern" over the tariffs during a phone call with Trump on Sunday.
But Navarro contends that China was "the root of the problem" despite being a relatively small player in the USA steel and aluminum market. "They flood the world market with this product and that ripples down to our shores and to other countries", he said.
"China doesn't want a trade war with the United States", Zhang told a news conference.
An official English-language interpreter added the phrase, "and will take necessary measures".