>> And we're going to see who's treating us fairly, who's not treating us fairly.>> President Donald Trump says his tariffs on steel and aluminum won't apply to America's friends. And the scramble to get on the list of exempted nations is already in full swing.>> I'm Andy Sullivan in Washington where Trump's tariff announcement is playing out like an episode of The Apprentice.
Nobody seems to know who's going to get singled out for punishment, and who's going to be spared. With a tariff set to take effect in just two weeks, countries across the globe are desperately making their case, just like those wanna-be business tycoons used to do on Trump's reality television show.
But this time the stakes are much higher. Trump has already said for now the tariffs won't apply to Mexico and they won't apply to Canada which is the largest supplier of those metals to the United States. Other countries also hoping they'll get a free pass, Brazil, Argentina, Japan, Australia, South Korea all arguing that their exports to America don't undermine US national security, the reason that Trump gave for applying the import tax in the first place.
The European Union is clearly not happy playing this game. Officials in the world's largest trading bloc say they expect an exemption. They're also accusing Trump of protectionism and threatening to target US goods like bourbon, tobacco, and Harley Davidson motorcycles, products made in the states that backed Trump in the 2016 election.
One country's clearly not going to make the cut, China, a huge producer of cheap steel. Business leaders there, urging their country to retaliate, saying they should go after US coal, which would be another blow for Trump country.>> Trump has left himself a lot of wiggle room here, this could be the first shot in a global trade war.
Or it could be a largely symbolic move to please his Rust Belt supporters. Trump has promised strong action before, in areas like immigration and gun laws, and he's failed to follow up. But trade is different, this is something he's been talking about for decades, and he doesn't need to work with Congress to get what he wants.
Next, he might go after China for allegedly stealing US technology. In the coming weeks, we'll see just how far Trump is willing to go to put his protectionist ideas into practice.