President Trump announced this evening that he would steepen tariffs imposed on steel and aluminium imports.
The move, which will hit countries such as Canada, Russia and China, is designed to prevent “unfair trade” according to Trump.
"We need great steel makers, great aluminium makers for defence," he said.
But the US, which is the world’s largest importer of steel, saw its Dow Jones index slump in the wake of the news by more than two per cent.
US steel producers, on the other hand, saw their share price jump. Nucor Corporation leapt more than four per cent in the immediate aftermath of the announcement, while United States Steel Corporation stock shot up by more than nine per cent.
“We must not let our country, companies and workers be taken advantage of any longer. We want free, fair and smart trade,” Trump tweeted.
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. We must not let our country, companies and workers be taken advantage of any longer. We want free, fair and SMART TRADE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 1, 2018
The rise in tariffs was a recommendation from a report released last month by US secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross. Trump ordered the investigation, into whether steel imports were threatening national security, last year.
In his presidential campaign, Trump stated that foreign countries were “dumping” vast amounts of steel on the US – which imports the metal from more than 110 countries.