Trump threatens allies with reciprocal tariffs

Bernie Sanders

The President says China's steel and aluminum imports are killing USA companies and taking American jobs.

On Tuesday, he met with lawmakers from top steel-producing states.

He pulled the United States out of a vast trans-Pacific trade deal and is renegotiating NAFTA - a free trade accord between the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Blunt, who said Missouri industries both make and consume steel and aluminum, told Trump in the meeting: "I think we do need to be careful here that we don't start a reciprocal battle on tariffs".

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"232 is a little like old-fashioned chemotherapy", House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, a Texas Republican, told Trump.

Senator Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, told the president that the manufacturing economy has shifted in the last 25 years, making his concerns less compelling. "It is in accordance with worldwide law", said Li Guanghui, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of global Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing.

Representatives Rick Crawford of Arkansas and Mike Bost of IL, both Republicans, signaled support for Trump's approach during the meeting, as did Senator Gary Peters, a Democrat from MI.

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"Steel dumping poses a particularly damaging threat to our national security, hurting domestic producers and weakening a key part of our national defense supply chain", Peters added. "In a statement, the Senator said he was pleased with how the meeting went today, and he will continue to push the president to do more to enforce our trade laws".

During that time, the Trump administration launched 94 investigations into alleged unfair trading practices from dozens of countries.

Last month, the Trump administration imposed a 30 percent tariff on solar panels and large washing machines.

"What we're talking about is tariffs and/or quotas", Trump said to the group.

But Brown says the U.S. must take immediate action to enforce existing trade laws.

"So we're going to be doing very much a reciprocal tax and you'll be hearing about that during the week and the coming months".

Trump nonetheless mentioned it again in Tuesday's meeting. "We're like the stupid people, and I don't like to have that anymore". He added that "we're like the stupid people" if the USA continues to pay tariffs imposed by other countries while allowing their products to enter the USA with lower duties. "And then I call that fair trade".

Ultimately, he said that may lower duties for everyone. "Some of them are so-called allies but they are not allies on trade".

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