GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, tore into President Trump for his decision to place steel and aluminum tariffs on the European Union, Canada and Mexico, calling the move a “tax hike on Americans” that “will have damaging consequences for consumers, manufacturers and workers.”
“My position remains unchanged: Tariffs on steel and aluminum imports are a tax hike on Americans and will have damaging consequences for consumers, manufacturers and workers,” Hatch said in a statement.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced earlier Thursday that the Trump administration has decided to impose hefty tariffs on top US trading partners, ending the temporary exemptions for the key trading allies despite their two months of lobbying to avoid the tariffs.
Hatch added: “We should build on our success in overhauling the nation’s tax code with complementary trade policies that, rather than favoring one narrow industry, make all sectors of the U.S. economy more competitive. In light of the mounting evidence that these tariffs will harm Americans, I will continue to push the administration to change course.”
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) called the tariff decision “bad news” that would “invite retaliation.”
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned that Trump’s decision leaves the EU with “no choice but to proceed with a [World Trade Organization] dispute settlement case and the imposition of additional duties on a number of US imports.”
Mexico also responded to the tariffs, saying it would impose retaliatory tariffs on U.S. imports like pork bellies, apples, grapes and flat steel, among other things.
Some GOP senators have floated new legislation that would give Congress more oversight of the president’s trade decisions.