President Donald Trump

Jasper Colt-USA TODAY

What Trump's Plan For Tariffs On Steel, Aluminum Could Mean For You

March 01, 2018 - 5:47 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Stocks plunged Thursday after President Donald Trump announced he is imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Bloomberg Radio Stocks Editor Dave Wilson joined WCBS 880’s Steve Scott and Michael Wallace Thursday to explain President Trump’s reasoning, and what it might all mean for the average consumer.

From Trump’s perspective, Wilson said it is “all about trying to help U.S. companies compete better with their international peers.

“Of course, the challenge is all of this is that trade is a bigger issue than steel and aluminum, and so there’s the concern among investors about what ultimately is going to happen as a result of the move that President Trump talked about today,” Wilson said.

There are concerns that the tariffs could be the start of a trade war, and also worries about the effects such tariffs have had throughout history going back to the Great Depression.

“You go back to 1930 and the whole Smoot-Hawley tariffs that helped touch off the Great Depression. More recently in 2002, President George W. Bush imposed tariffs as much as 30 percent on steel imports, so what happens? The S&P 500 falls as much as 30 percent. You get a weaker dollar,” Wilson said.

As to the effect for American consumers, Wilson noted that steel and aluminum are the raw material for cars, appliances and buildings.

“You have to think about it in terms of costs going up,” Wilson said. “I heard one estimate – just to give you an idea – that the steel and aluminum maybe represent 3 to 4 percent of the cost of the car, and that may be headed up to 5 percent.”