“That just wreaks havoc with American farmers and businesses with the investments they have to make,” said Matthew Slaughter, a professor of international business at Dartmouth College. “It creates massive uncertainty for these industries.”
Automakers, for instance, had sought looser emissions rules. However, Mr. Trump’s proposed rollback goes further than expected, and now automakers say it could ultimately spawn years of legal battles and perhaps even subject the industry to more regulations, not fewer, if individual states start enforcing their own, separate rules. They also fear that Mr. Trump’s recent threats to impose tariffs on imports of European autos could trigger a trade war, raising prices for all vehicles.
In one recent meeting with Mr. Trump, the chief executive of General Motors, Mary Barra, told the president she would be happy with a deal keeping much of the current Obama-level pollution standards in place, while adding sweeteners for automakers such as financial credits for companies that invent more fuel-efficient technologies, according to two people familiar with the meeting.
Oil and gas companies say a Trump administration proposal to bail out the coal industry will cut into their market share, while steel tariffs make their production equipment costlier. Aluminum makers fear not only a tariff tit-for-tat, but also the looser vehicle-pollution rules, because one way to make more efficient cars is to make more car parts from lightweight aluminum.
A spokesman for the White House, Raj Shah, acknowledged that while some policies might not always be to the liking of specific industries, “A lot of these groups benefit from broader policies — all these groups benefit from the tax cut and regulatory relief.”
“The only constituency the president is looking out for is the American people,” Mr. Shah said.
Mr. Trump’s policies have their strong supporters.
“The steel tariffs, the aluminum tariffs, the auto tariffs, have the potential to put people to work in industries like steel production,” said Jeff Ferry, the research director for the Coalition for a Prosperous America, a nonprofit group that advocates closing the United States trade deficit. “The electorate is no longer buying the theories economists are peddling about free trade lifting all boats,” Mr. Ferry said.