How the trade war hits home

President Donald Trump has said that trade wars are easy to win.

But winning will involve patience on the part of American consumers, importers, exporters and others. The flip side of the trade war is the squeeze that America’s strongest allies will impose.

It is not clear how long the escalating tensions will play out. In the meantime, there are also many industries that will suffer collateral damage of higher tariffs that they may absorb by cutting jobs, pinching wages or taking other cost-cutting moves.

Here’s a look at how the new trade war could play out:


Consumers could soon be paying higher prices for cars and trucks, electronics, homes and staple goods like canned foods and canned beer. Aluminum has been a lightweight substitute for heavy steel components in manufacturing, and Canada provides 40 percent of the U.S. imports of the metal.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers warned Thursday of a direct correlation between Trump’s tariffs and the sticker prices of cars at dealerships. “Automakers already source the majority of their steel and aluminum from U.S. producers. However, these tariffs will result in an increase in the price of domestically produced steel — threatening the industry’s global competitiveness and raising vehicle costs for our customers,” the trade group said in a statement.

Some may say that the counter-tariffs that U.S. trading partners are imposing won’t be felt by Americans. But the tariffs that Canada is imposing on goods like cheese — and Mexico is imposing on products like pork bellies — could result in a glut in the United States if consumers abroad don’t want to pay more for U.S. imports.

Manufacturers and exporters

The tariffs may be good news for American steel plants and aluminum smelters — who are counting on the tariffs to bring back jobs.

But factories here have to compete with global companies. Higher costs (whether for U.S.-made steel and aluminum or that made abroad) mean that manufacturers like Boeing will have…

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