On Wednesday, 107 House Republicans sent a letter to President Trump asking him to abandon his purported desire to impose tariffs on aluminum and steel imports. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Dave Reichert (R-WA) headed the list of GOP members pleading with Trump to rethink his position, while allowing that action must be taken against China’s unfair trading practices.
The letter started:
We are writing to express deep concern about the prospect of broad, global tariffs on aluminum and steel imports. Because tariffs are taxes that make U.S. businesses less competitive and U.S. consumers poorer, any tariffs that are imposed should be designed to address specific distortions caused by unfair trade practices in a targeted way while minimizing negative consequences on American businesses and consumers.
Then it segued to explaining that “key elements are needed to minimize negative consequences,” including the fact that “relief should be narrow, excluding all fairly traded products and all products that do not pose a national security threat … a robust exclusion process should be announced" allowing American companies to “petition for and promptly obtain duty-free access for imports that are unavailable from U.S. sources … existing contracts to purchase aluminum or steel should be grandfathered to allow duty-free imports and avoid disrupting the operation and finances of operations and finances of projects that are already budgeted and underway … effects of this remedy should be reviewed and considered on a short term basis.”
The letter concluded:
We support your resolve to address distortions caused by China’s unfair practices, and we are committed to acting with you and our trading partners on meaningful and effective action. But we urge you to reconsider the idea of broad tariffs to avoid unintended negative consequences to the U.S. economy and its workers. We are eager to work with you in pursuing a workable, targeted approach that achieves our shared goal.
Chairman Brady said:
We applaud President Trump for standing up against bad actors who trade unfairly and hurt America. We’re writing today to say: we stand with you in taking tough action to keep America safe and our economy strong. At the same time, we’re urging the President to tailor these tariffs so American businesses can continue to trade fairly with our partners, sell American-made products to customers all over the world, and hire more workers here at home.