As America's President Donald Trump is averting a war with North Korea, he is starting another with China, EU and the rest of the world.

On Thursday, the American strong man signed a contentious tariff on foreign steel and aluminum, effectively triggering a trade war with the rest of the world.

The punitive tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum come into effect quickly and are almost certain to spark retaliatory sanctions from the European Union, China and other economic powers.

Reuters reports that this is part of Trump’s move to fulfil a protectionist campaign promise.

Also Read: IMF To Trump: You Can’t Win Trade War

He is said to have leaned on a little-used national security clause in US trade law to put a 25% tax on imports of steel and a 10% tax on aluminum.

The products are used in everything from cars to construction, roads to railways. Economists estimate billions of dollars of trade will be affected.

Hours before the signing, Trump told his cabinet that these products were the “backbone of our nation, they are the bedrock of defense industrial base.”

He compared his action to those of predecessors George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and William McKinley.

“Our greatest presidents” he said, “they protected our country from outside influence, from other countries coming in and stealing our wealth and stealing our jobs and stealing our companies.”

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