WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump talks tough on trade yet his administration granted hundreds of companies permission to import millions of tons of steel made in China, Japan and other countries without paying a hefty tariff.
That’s according to an Associated Press analysis of applications for relief from the steel tariff that Trump put in place last year to protect U.S. manufacturers and jobs.
The import tax waivers show how pliable his protectionist policies can be. Although China has been the principal target of Trump’s “America First” agenda, he’s also criticized Japan and allies in Europe.
The U.S. Commerce Department approved exemption requests from 370 companies for up to 4.1 million tons of foreign steel. Roughly 8 percent of the total is from China and close to 30 percent is from Japan.