President Trump Will Not Back Down on Tariffs
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said The Trump Administration is not trying to provoke a global trade war with the steel and aluminum tariffs announced last week.
“We are not looking to get into trade wars,” Secretary Mnuchin said Tuesday during a congressional committee hearing when asked about the tariffs.
After announcing the steel and aluminum tariffs, President Donald Trump Tweeted on Friday,“trade wars are good, and easy to win.”
Monday, US President Donald Trump insisted that he’s “not backing down” on his plan to impose stiff tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. That despite anxious warnings from House Speaker Paul Ryan and other congressional Republicans of a possible trade war.
The President said that North American neighbors Canada and Mexico would not get any relief from his plan to place the tariffs on the imports but suggested he might be willing to exempt the 2 longstanding allies if they agreed to better terms for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
“No, we’re not backing down,” Trump said in the Oval Office, seated with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “We’ve had a very bad deal with Mexico, we’ve had a very bad deal with Canada — it’s called NAFTA,” President Trump said.
The President opened the door to exempting the two countries from the planned tariffs, telling reporters, “that would be, I would imagine, one of the points that we’ll negotiate.” But he added, “If they aren’t going to make a fair NAFTA deal, we’re just going to leave it this way.”
The Trump Administration says the tariffs are necessary to preserve the American industries, and that imposing them is a national security imperative.
President Trump’s comments and Tweets earlier in the day suggested he was also using them as leverage in the current talks to revise NAFTA. The latest round of a nearly yearlong renegotiation effort is concluding this week in Mexico City.
He Tweeted, “Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum will only come off if new & fair NAFTA agreement is signed. Also, Canada must treat our farmers much better. Highly restrictive. Mexico must do much more on stopping drugs from pouring into the US.”
President Trump’s tariff plan has been branded “absolutely unacceptable” by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, and Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission has said the European Union (EU) could respond by taxing American goods including Bourbon, blue jeans and Harley Davidson motorcycles.
The tariffs will be made official in the next 2 weeks, White House officials said Monday, as the administration defended the protectionist decision from critics in Washington and overseas.
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said: “25 percent on steel, and the 10 percent on aluminum, no country exclusions, this is a firm line in the sand.”