Trump Advisers Defend Stiff Tariffs on Steel, Aluminum

Key advisers of President Donald Trump continued defending Sunday his decision to impose high tariffs on aluminum and steel imports, sowing uncertainty but also leaving room for Trump to change his mind.

One of the president’s advisers, Peter Navarro confirmed on Sunday that no country would be excluded from the tariffs, pointing out, however, that companies could apply for exemptions for some products.

Meanwhile, over the weekend, President Trump took to Twitter to also defend his policies, saying that the U.S. has been for too long been on the “losing side” of global trade deals, The New York Times reports.

“We are on the losing side of almost all trade deals. Our friends and enemies have taken advantage of the U.S. for many years. Our Steel and Aluminum industries are dead. Sorry, it’s time for a change! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” he tweeted on Sunday night.

Navarro said that if Trump exempted a country from the tariffs he would have to raise the tariffs on other ones which would also demand to be exempted. He further confirmed that the tariffs would be signed by next week at the latest, leaving room for change in their timing.

Wilbur Ross, the secretary of commerce, also noted that the president may eventually change his mind.

“What he has said he has said. If he says something different, it’ll be something different,” Ross said, adding that “The president has announced that this will happen this week. I have no reason to think otherwise.”

Trump made a rather shocking announcement last week that he would impose a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports, which would hit global trading partners like China and South Korea.

The trade plan has, however, faced fierce criticism by many who are adamant that free trade is in the interest of the economy. Senator Lindsey Graham claimed that the tariffs fall more heavily on U.S. allies than on China. Economists agree and say that Canada, the EU and South Korea, which export more steel to the United States than China does, would also stand to lose more.

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