Canada’s threat to reciprocate on new U.S. import tariffs could even extend to something as benign as maple syrup. It is just the latest example of entrenchment between the U.S. and some of its top trading partners.
Correspondent Kevin Corke has more tonight from the White House.
PETER NAVARRO, NATIONAL TRADE COUNCIL DIRECTOR: These tariffs, they are purely defensive in nature. They are designed basically to bring these industries back to life. And guess what — from day one, those tariffs were announced, they are working.
KEVIN CORKE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Working, say White house officials, to restore American commerce and enhance U.S. national security. Indeed the President’s Twitter feed has consistently assailed the quote, “unfairness of the tariffs”, adding defiantly, “By the time I finished trade talks that will change, massive trade deficits no longer.”
The United States has the world’s largest trade deficit. It’s been that way since 1975 with an $811.2 billion gap in 2017 alone, nearly half of that, $375 25 billion thanks to China.
But from the United Kingdom to Beijing, from Ottawa to Mexico City, the tough talk on tariffs is sparking fears that a global trade war is imminent. Today British Prime Minister Theresa May told President Trump in a phone call that U.S. tariffs on E.U. steel were unjustified and deeply disappointing.
Mexico filed a complaint against the U.S. with the World Trade Organization. China warned that increased tariffs would force it to renege on a promise to reduce its trade surplus. And Canadian officials stung by new fees on steel and aluminum due to national security concerns have proposed $16 billion in retaliatory tariffs.
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: The idea that we are somehow a national security threat to the United States is quite frankly insulting and unacceptable.
CORKE: Some experts think the President’ strategy is well-intentioned but goes a bit too far.
CLARK PACKARD, R STREET INSTITUTE: In some respects the President is right but the answer to that is not to throw up barriers on our side, it’s to work to expand access abroad and lower tariffs across the globe.
CORKE: House Speaker Paul Ryan has made no secret of his opposition to the new tariffs while House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy says the President is merely standing up for free and fair trade, a contentious debate likely to get only hotter at the G-7 later this week — Shannon.
BREAM: Kevin Corke at the White House. Thank you — Kevin.