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Aug. 6, 2020, 4:46 p.m. EDT

Trump reimposes tariffs on Canadian aluminum, directs U.S. government to buy ‘essential’ drugs from American companies

President also says his staff is continuing to work on an order tied to payroll taxes, eviction protections, unemployment insurance and student loans

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By Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch


Getty Images
President Donald Trump speaks at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, Ohio, on Thursday.

While visiting the swing state of Ohio on Thursday, President Donald Trump said he has reimposed some tariffs on Canadian aluminum and signed an executive order that requires the U.S. government purchase “essential” drugs from American companies.

Trump said Canadian aluminum producers have broken a promise to "not flood our country with exports and kill all our aluminum jobs.” U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer has advised him that “this step to reimpose tariffs is absolutely necessary to defend our aluminum industry,” the president added, as he delivered a speech at a Whirlpool Corp. /zigman2/quotes/200296850/composite WHR +1.51%  manufacturing plant in Clyde, Ohio.

“We’re reasserting American economic independence,” Trump also said. “To this end, a short time ago, I signed a new executive order to ensure that when it comes to essential medicines, we buy American.”

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro told reporters ahead of the signing that the U.S. is “dangerously over-dependent on foreign nations” for “essential medicines” as well as medical supplies and equipment.

“A key part of this process will be for the FDA to actually identify the list of essential medicines and countermeasures and critical inputs covered,” Navarro said of the Food and Drug Administration, in a remark that suggests specifics are still being worked out.

The moves look likely to resonate with the president’s core supporters ahead of the November election. He also recently has signed executive orders that aim to limit federal agencies’ use of foreign workers and reduce drug prices.

The order on essential drugs comes amid probes into a $765 million government loan to Eastman Kodak Co. /zigman2/quotes/205109646/composite KODK +6.27%  that will help the company make drug ingredients at U.S. factories.

Reports last week said the decision on Canadian aluminum was coming.

CAMPAIGN-STYLE SPEECH TOUCHING ON MARKETS

While in Ohio before going to the Whirlpool factory, Trump gave a rally-like speech in Cleveland in which he blasted presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, echoing past comments that he’s made about how the stock market /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +1.60%   /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +1.34%  could react to a Biden presidency.

“You will have a crash in the markets,” Trump said.

In a RealClearPolitics moving average of polls focused on Ohio , Biden leads Trump by 2.3 percentage points. Trump and his campaign have said pollsters are getting the 2020 race wrong as surveys mostly have showed Biden ahead in battleground states and nationwide.

Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine had planned to meet with the president during his visit, but instead he was due to quarantine for 14 days after testing positive for the coronavirus.

OTHER ORDER POSSIBLE AS STIMULUS TALKS DRAG ON

The president tweeted that, as he was departing for Ohio, he had directed his staff to “continue working” on a possible executive order on a payroll-tax cut, eviction protections, unemployment-insurance extensions and student-loan repayments. He later told reporters the order could come “probably tomorrow afternoon” or the next morning, noting that a legislative deal on another big coronavirus relief package was still possible as talks on Capitol Hill continued.

Related: Trump suggests freezing evictions and payroll-tax collection through executive orders

And see: Odds are ‘as high as 35%’ that next coronavirus aid package won’t become reality until September, analyst says

REACTION TO NRA NEWS

Trump on Thursday also briefly weighed in on the Democratic New York attorney general’s move to shut down the National Rifle Association, saying it’s “a terrible thing.” Gun makers’ stocks /zigman2/quotes/202273249/composite SWBI -0.50%   /zigman2/quotes/200036418/composite RGR -1.95%  closed with losses after the announcement from Attorney General Letitia James, while the broad market gained.

/zigman2/quotes/200296850/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 178.11
+2.65 +1.51%
Volume: 499,930
Sept. 25, 2020 4:03p
P/E Ratio
13.66
Dividend Yield
2.69%
Market Cap
$11.10 billion
Rev. per Employee
$228,663
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/zigman2/quotes/205109646/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 9.32
+0.55 +6.27%
Volume: 9.92M
Sept. 25, 2020 4:04p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$705.38 million
Rev. per Employee
$260,172
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/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
US : S&P US
3,298.46
+51.87 +1.60%
Volume: 2.18B
Sept. 25, 2020 5:06p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
27,173.96
+358.52 +1.34%
Volume: 391.73M
Sept. 25, 2020 5:06p
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/zigman2/quotes/202273249/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 15.88
-0.08 -0.50%
Volume: 1.52M
Sept. 25, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
1.26%
Market Cap
$887.75 million
Rev. per Employee
$316,336
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/200036418/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 61.49
-1.22 -1.95%
Volume: 225,416
Sept. 25, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
23.15
Dividend Yield
1.72%
Market Cap
$1.08 billion
Rev. per Employee
$270,839
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Victor Reklaitis is MarketWatch's Money & Politics reporter and is based in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter @VicRek.

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