The world's economic powers are gearing up for a possible trade dispute as the Trump administration considers imposing steep tariffs on steel imports.
After months of criticism of the nation's trade policies on the campaign trail, Trump in April ordered an investigation of steel imports and their impact on national security.
The report from the Commerce Department was due at the end of June but was reportedly delayed amid concerns from business leaders and elected officials alike. An administration official, however, told Reuters last week that the report would be released after Trump spoke with leaders at the Group of 20 summit in Germany later this week.
White House economic adviser Gary Cohn added that the analysis would be used to demand action by G20 nations to address overcapacity and trade disparities in the global steel market.
"The premise of that report we will use as an opportunity to talk with many of our trading partners around the world about what's going on in steel," Cohn told the publication.
One day later, Axios reported that Trump is leaning toward proposing tariffs of about 20 percent on steel and potentially other imports such as aluminum, paper, semiconductors or appliances.
Top White House advisers largely lined up against the proposal, according to Axios, due to its potential to spark a trade war — which could have severe economic and political consequences. If enacted, the tariffs are also likely to meet opposition from industry groups — such as automakers — in court.
“We are very much concerned that that kind of decisions would be damaging for France and Europe,” French economic minister Bruno Le Maire told The Wall Street Journal.