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Trump could impose universal tariff on Day 1: ex-U.S. trade official

Former U.S. President Donald Trump would be able to implement a sweeping tariff on nearly all imported products upon taking office if he is elected again, former senior trade official Jamieson Greer told Nikkei, countering the argument that the president does not have the power to do so.

Greer, now a partner at law firm King & Spalding, served as chief of staff to the U.S. Trade Representative in the Trump White House, handling working-level trade negotiations with China, the European Union and Japan. Some expect him to be tapped for a key trade policy post if the former president wins the election in November.

Trump’s campaign platform includes a “universal baseline tariff” on nearly all foreign products, with 10% mentioned as a possible rate. Some experts in the U.S. argue that the executive branch lacks the power to impose such an across-the-board levy.

Greer took a different view. “There are legal authorities out there available,” he said, citing Section 122 of the Trade Act of 1974, among others.

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