As the Trump Administration announced tariffs on washing machines and solar panel components, mainly from Asian countries, I spoke with Monocle 24’s The Daily on Wednesday night.
Discussion included the impact of the measures — including the likely loss of American jobs in the solar industry — and the motives of the Administration. Was this just a grinding of bureaucratic wheels? Is it the first phase of implementation of Trump’s protectionism, turning the US inward in the global economy? Is there any joined-up economic strategy at all?
Whatever the motives, I think this will be spun politically by Trump supporters as “economic nationalism” — protectionism. The risk of that political message is that it will provoke retaliatory measures or, at the least as Trump goes to the Davos meeting this week, lead to a cool reception by international business and finance.