Published: Wed, February 14, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

U.S. trade strategy's intent is to create jobs

U.S. trade strategy's intent is to create jobs

The measures come a month after the Trump administration slapped new tariffs on Chinese-made solar panels and washing machines.

"I want to keep prices down but I also want to make sure that we have a steel industry and an aluminum industry".

On Monday, a collection of 15 trade associations representing more than 30,000 businesses that use steel to make products warned the White House in a letter that such restrictions could undermine their ability to manufacture goods in the United States.

Dumping, or selling goods at unfairly low prices overseas, can undercut domestic markets at the expense of local industries.

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Much of the meeting centered on what actions Trump might take on steel and aluminum imports, following reports sent to the White House by the Commerce Department last month.

Trump instructed the Commerce Department previous year to probe whether imports of steel and aluminum represent a threat to US national security, under the seldom-used Section 232 of a 1960s trade act. "Because the difference is we want to help DACA, you don't", Trump said, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program now being debated by Congress.

"You know, we make aluminum and we make steel" he said.

Democratic lawmakers provided some of the strongest support at the White House meeting for harsher trade penalties against China and other countries through the 232 process.

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The president instructed the Commerce Department past year to probe whether imports of steel and aluminum represent a threat to USA national security, under the seldom-used Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.

Last year China imported 3.2 million tonnes of the chemical worth more than US$4 billion from the US. He threatened to impose tariffs on companies that send jobs overseas and then ship their products back into country, but he's not done so.

At the same time, some Democrats from states Trump carried - and the more populist voters who propelled him into office - are pushing for actions that resemble the president's trade threats.

"We have a very, very bad trade deal with Korea", Trump said.

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Trump nonetheless mentioned it again in Tuesday's meeting. "I would urge us to go very, very cautiously here", he said. And when they sell to us, zero, we charge them zero. "That's called fair trade", Trump said. Ultimately, no such import tax made it into the tax law that passed in December.

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