On 1 March 2018, the American President pushed through a metals tariff plan, that puts 25% tariff on imports of steel and a 10% tariff on imports of aluminium. They are set to enter into force on 23 March 2018.
The tariffs on steel and aluminium will not affect most international bulk trades. However, its consequences can impact global shipping in a much wider way including container shipping trades.
BIMCO’s Chief Shipping Analyst Peter Sand, mentioned:
Free trade provides prosperity and peace. It’s a fundamental principle to cherish and safeguard. All trade-restrictive measures are in principle bad for shipping. Open economies are all better off from trading, as they make use of their resources in the most optimal way. The result of a trade war is more expensive goods of lower quality and little variety. This goes for all products and commodities.
Although the new tariffs' impact on shipping is still unknown, trade action against China is also expected from the US, something that will damage all the countries involved. Namely, in a trade war, parties retaliate against one another. While doing so, they often set aside normal business procedures.
In response to the new tariffs, the EU, Japan and China, may set their own import barriers against, in order to hit back. The international atmosphere is tense right now and trading partners like the EU and China are expected to take action.