Jeff Flake to Write Bill to Nullify Trump Tariffs

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

Republican lawmakers are not happy about President Donald Trump's import tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Republicans fear Trump's action risks distracting voters and disrupting the USA economy just months before the midterm election that will test his protectionist policies, populist rhetoric and chaotic approach to the presidency.

"These so-called "flexible tariffs" are a marriage of two lethal poisons to economic growth - protectionism and uncertainty", Flake said in a statement.

Historically proponents of free trade, several Republicans dubbed the measures "stupid" and "misguided" - if the United States increases the cost of both materials, they hold, American producers of vehicles and other products will suffer setbacks on the global playing field, and consumers will pay more.

Undeterred by the resignation of his senior economics adviser and pleas from more than 100 Republican lawmakers not to go through with the tariffs, Trump signed into law tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum. Specifically, Kansans are concerned about China retaliating on USA sorghum exports.

Trump said he was "defending America's national security" by imposing the tariffs. The probe was authorized under the seldom-used Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, which gives the president broad powers to impose restrictions on domestic security grounds.


"Our factories were left to rot, and to rust all over the place".

Trump says the levies will take effect in about 15 days.

Companies may claim that Trump's use of the national security rationale is inconsistent with his protectionist public statements, and therefore is an illegitimate use of Section 232, said Raj Bhala, a specialist in worldwide trade law at Kansas University School of Law. He has tried to use the tariffs as leverage in ongoing talks to renegotiate NAFTA, suggesting Canada and Mexico might be exempted from tariffs if they offer more favorable terms under the trade agreement. On Monday, the U.S. Court of International Trade, which hears cases involving trade and customs law, dismissed a challenge by a group of Canadian solar panel manufacturers that sought to block a 30 percent Trump tariff on imported solar cells.

The president plans to rally Republicans in western Pennsylvania on Saturday in support of Rick Saccone, who faces Democrat Conor Lamb in a March 13 special House election.

"When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade was are good, and easy to win", he tweeted. A WTO decision wouldn't halt USA tariffs, but rather authorize retaliation from trading partners.

Speaking to employees of Home Depot in Atlanta, Ryan, a Republican, added: "I'm just not a fan of broad-based, across-the-board tariffs because I think you'll have a lot of unintended consequences".

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