Capital Link International CEO Brett McGonegal. Photo: Bloomberg screen grab

US President Donald Trump is unlikely to impose raise tariffs on imports of steel from China and other countries, according to a senior Hong Kong-based analyst.

“I think it’s nothing more than tough talk right now,” Capital Link International CEO Brett McGonegal told Bloomberg Television.

His reasons were simple. Trump is a president “long on talk and short on action”; the mid-term elections were coming up and the president was “playing to his power base.”

More than that, raising tariffs on steel imports would hurt Canada, South Korea and Japan – long-term allies – while Chinese steel only amounted to 2% of the total used in the US.

“The simple fact is it’s not an intelligent move for the US,” he said.

McGonegal worried, meanwhile, that while the US President likes to communicate to the world via Twitter, and that has some advantages, it also has shortcomings.

“The risk is if you use this as a way to gain leverage, or use this as a power play before you can back off from the cliff, at some point people don’t listen, if it keeps becoming just this talk and no action.”

McGonegal is also a principal shareholder in Asia Times.

See Brett McGonegal on Bloomberg Daybreak