Trump wants to start a trade war with the biggest countries in the world

US president Donald Trump. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/ Getty Images.

President Donald Trump is reportedly considering a move that would most likely ignite a major international trade conflict with some of the biggest economies in the world.

According to Jonathan Swan and Mike Allen of the news website Axios, Trump and top administration officials discussed imposing tariffs on major exporters of steel and other goods during a meeting Thursday at the White House.

The tax on imported goods could be about 20%, according to Axios, and may be expanded to goods like paper, semiconductors, aluminium, and large household appliances.

While the intent is to penalise China, a goal of Trump’s dating back to the campaign, officials informed Trump that the tariff would most likely affect other major allies of the US including Canada, Germany, Japan, Mexico, and the UK.

The plan is backed by what Axios described as the “America First” wing of the White House including chief strategist Steve Bannon, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, trade adviser Peter Navarro, and senior policy adviser Stephen Miller.

During the meeting, according to Axios, Trump was told by “over 75%” of the people in attendance that the tariffs were a bad idea but remained in support of the idea because it would excite his die-hard supporters.

Most economists agree that tariffs of the type Trump is considering would set off a major trade war and have devastating economic consequences. There is also a good chance that the move would result in a US recession.

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