Whoppers of the Week: Robert Zoellick and the U.S. Steel Industry

Learning to love tariffs.

“[T]his does not affect the ability of the American companies and consumers. … I think in reality, it’s hard to predict what the prices will be. … [G]uessing prices is not my business.”
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, in a March 5 briefing on the Bush administration’s new tariffs on steel imports. Zoellick was responding to a question about whether the tariffs would affect consumers.

“[T]ariffs are nothing more than taxes that hurt low- and moderate-income people, who pay for a lot of the goods we import from Africa, whether it be clothes or shoes or food.”
Feb. 8 briefing by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick. The subject was U.S. trade with Sub-Saharan Africa.

(Thanks to Richard W. Stevenson and Paul Krugman of the New York Times.)

“[R]emove steel tariffs as soon as possible.”
American Iron and Steel Institute policy statement, undated. This reference to foreign tariffs against U.S.-produced steel creates the unmistakable impression that the U.S. steel industry thinks steel tariffs in general are wrong.

“This temporary relief will give the industry a much needed breathing space to begin to recover from the worst crisis in the history of the American steel industry and we have them to thank.”
Andrew Sharkey, president of the American Iron and Steel Institute, in a March 6 press release praising the new U.S. tariffs against foreign-produced steel. This statement creates the unmistakable impression that the U.S. steel industry thinks steel tariffs in general are not wrong.

(Thanks to reader Matthew Conover.)

Got a whopper? Send it to To be considered, an entry must be an unambiguously false statement paired with an unambiguous refutation, and both must be derived from some appropriately reliable public source. Preference will be given to newspapers and other documents that Chatterbox can link to online.

Whopper Archive:
Feb. 28, 2002: Al Sharpton
Feb. 22, 2002: Olympic skating judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne
Feb. 14, 2002: Kenneth Lay
Feb 8, 2002: Enron spokeswoman Peggy Mahoney
Jan. 31, 2002: Monsanto
Jan. 24, 2002: Linda Chavez
Jan. 17, 2002: George W. Bush
Jan. 10, 2002: Simon & Schuster
Jan. 4, 2002: The Associated Press

(Click  here  to access the Whopper Archive for 2001.)