Trump digs in on tariffs, says he’s protecting American workers

Posted on: March 6th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments — President Donald Trump insisted Tuesday that he’s staying the course with his proposed steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, showing little concern about possibly sparking a trade war.

“When we’re behind on every single country, trade wars aren’t so bad,” the president contended, arguing that trade deficits necessitate that he take action to balance U.S. trading relationships.

Trump also pointed to the move as a means to fulfill one of his key campaign promises to help the American worker, arguing that the steel and aluminum industries have been hurt by unfair international trade practices.

“I’m here to protect and one of the reasons I was elected is I’m protecting our workers, I’m protecting our companies. I’m not going to let that happen. So we’re doing tariffs on steel. We cannot lose our steel industry. It’s a fraction of what it once was and we can’t lose our aluminum industry, also a fraction of what it once was,” Trump said.

The president further signaled that some of the United States’ closest trading partners, including Canada, Mexico, and the European Union may be exempted from the tariffs if they are able to give the United States something in exchange.

“We’re working on NAFTA right now and if we’re able to make a deal with Canada and Mexico in NAFTA, then there will be no reason to do the tariffs with Canada and Mexico,” Trump said. “But again, other countries, we won’t have that choice and unless they can do something for us. As an example, if the European Union takes off some of the horrible barriers that make it impossible for our product to go into there, then we can start talking.”

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