Some Republicans are so blinded by the idea of “free trade” that they would do nothing about China’s subsidizing, dumping, stealing and protectionism. They believe that because consumers, and corporate users of Chinese steel, benefit by low prices, this is good economics. The problem is that Chinese economic policy is driving American companies out of business, shifting jobs to Asia and hurting the American economy. In the long run, China will be able to drive out competition, then raise prices on American consumers.
One other important reason for trade sanctions against China on steel policy is national security concerns. Tim Timken, CEO of Timken Steel, was quoted on CNBC as saying, “If the U.S. were to give up on steel, the country would be wholly dependent on foreign sources, which could threaten national security.” China is a strategic threat to the United States and if we rely on them for steel, then we will not be able to produce steel if we are ever in conflict with China. It makes zero strategic sense to let the United States become dependent on a strategic opponent for the steel that makes many of our weapons of war.
While many act as if Trump’s actions will start a massive trade war that will destroy the United States and the world economy, they ignore the fact that doing nothing to punish unfair trade will hurt the world economy.