Trump, lawmakers meet at White House on addressing trade imbalances

by Abel Hampton February 16, 2018, 4:08
Trump, lawmakers meet at White House on addressing trade imbalances

In late January, U.S. President Donald Trump approved imposing safeguard tariffs of up to 50 percent on imported washers for the next three years and of up to 30 percent on solar cells and modules for the next four years.

The president is meeting at the White House with almost 20 lawmakers, including a number of senators representing Rust Belt states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and MI.

The number of trade investigations, which often lead to tariffs on other countries' products, rose 81% in the first 12 months of Trump's presidency, according to a Commerce Department investigation announced Tuesday.

The administration has been weighing whether to slap tariffs on aluminum and steel imports by arguing they pose a threat to national security.

Referencing the United States trade deficit with China, which he made a point of attributing to previous administrations, Trump declared: "Look, we have rebuilt China". The probes were given authorization by a trade legislation that was passed in 1962 which since 2001 has not been invoked.

"We hope the USA will discard the zero-sum mindset, stop viewing big power relationship from the perspective of confrontation, follow the trend of times of peaceful development and work with Russian Federation and China to jointly ensure the world peace and stability", Geng said.

The Trump administration is now focused on altering "trade and current account imbalances", Dana Peterson, director of North America economics with Citi Research, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

He also criticized Trump for signaling he would act on steel and aluminum without taking action.

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

The president met with a bipartisan group of lawmakers on trade matters, in particular on steel and aluminum dumping cases. "I suspect they have a tool kit that they are willing to deploy in a measured way if the United States takes actions they think are not compatible with worldwide treaty rights".

The White House meeting was scheduled as closed to the press, but Trump let reporters remain in the room.

Trump also repeated his threat to terminate NAFTA, the free trade agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

But the next day when Mr Trump raised the issue of steel and aluminium, Republican Roy Blunt of Montana warned him not to "start a reciprocal battle on tariffs". In addition to stealing secrets and intellectual property, the operations could also be used to attack the US financial system, power grid and other critical infrastructure in the event of a conflict. We have rebuilt countries massively.

Last summer, Molson Coors Brewing Co. warned that consumers may have to pay higher beer prices if Trump imposes duties making it more expensive to procure aluminum. "We're like the stupid people, and I don't like to have that anymore".

One report on Tuesday indicated that pending trade actions are now bogged down in legal questions.

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