“Tariffs are … most importantly a powerful way to get companies to come to the USA and to get companies that have left us for other lands to COME BACK HOME,” President Donald Trump tweeted last Friday (his caps).

The facts have yet to bear him out, but if they do, it is unlikely to be in ways that reopen the shuttered mills of the rust belt or provide much succour for his base.

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now