Trump Tells Lawmakers He’s Mulling Limits on Imported Steel

which pushback, which has garnered the sympathy of many pro-trade Republicans, appears to have turned a trade action which the White House initially viewed as relatively straightforward into a more extended affair.

In speeches in May as well as also also June, Trump administration officials implied which action on steel would certainly soon be forthcoming. however inside months which followed, little information emerged about the investigations. In September, the commerce secretary Wilbur L. Ross Jr., said which a decision on the steel measure would certainly be delayed until after Congress approved a fresh tax law, because the administration did not want to “unnecessarily irritate” lawmakers.

The Commerce Department formally submitted the results of its investigations into steel as well as also also aluminum imports to the White House in January. The president today faces a deadline of April 11 for a decision on the steel case, as well as also also a deadline of April 20 for a similar decision on aluminum.

Republican as well as also also Democratic lawmakers who gathered at the White House on Tuesday are generally split along party lines on the restrictions. Most Democrats voiced support for the president’s action on metals, as well as also also Republicans, with the exception of Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, urged caution.

Representative Jackie Walorski, Republican of Indiana, warned which cost increases could affect the recreational vehicles made in her district. Senator Gary Peters, Democrat of Michigan, noted which the auto parts industry relied on inexpensive metals. as well as also also Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, said which past tariffs imposed in 2002 by President George W. Bush on steel had cost jobs for auto parts companies.

In a statement after the meeting, Representative Kevin Brady, Republican of Texas as well as also also the chairman of the House Ways as well as also also Means Committee, said which the Trump administration needed to hold China accountable for unfair trade practices. however he urged the president to “avoid any action” which could reverse what he described as the benefits of lower taxes as well as also also lighter regulation under the Trump administration.

“I committed to continuing to work with him to identify a narrow as well as also also targeted remedy which will be balanced, effective, protects national security as well as also also economic interests across America, as well as also also addresses the root problem of China’s distortive practices,” Mr. Brady said.

The president listened to their comments however occasionally offered some pushback, saying he believed foreign steel manufacturers would certainly absorb the cost of the tariff, rather than raising their prices. “You may have a higher cost, however you have jobs,” Mr. Trump said.

Senator Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, suggested which the president focus specifically on countries which have unfair trading practices. “I would certainly urge us to go very, very cautiously here,” he said.

Mr. Trump replied, “which’s all countries.”

The United Steelworkers, the country’s largest industrial union, as well as also also companies which forge steel as well as also also aluminum have united in pushing for import restrictions. however they have faced opposition coming from a broad array of industries which argue tariffs could hurt their ability to compete as well as also also cost more jobs than they would certainly save.

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

The associations said which their member companies employed more than one million Americans, compared with just 80,000 jobs in basic steel production.

“Restrictions on basic steel imports will actually adversely impact national security, the economy as well as also also the steel industry itself, because which will undermine our competitiveness as well as also also limit our ability to make value-added products here,” the letter read.

The president received more support coming from the Democrats at the meeting. Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, thanked Mr. Trump for recent tariffs imposed to protect American manufacturers of washing machines, as well as also also urged tough measures on steel imports.

Mr. Brown said he was hopeful which the administration’s renegotiation of Nafta would certainly succeed, noting which if which was written in a way which supports workers, “we can deliver Democrat support.”

Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, urged the president to include “Buy America” provisions in his infrastructure plan, as well as also also asked the administration to publicly Discharge reports which the Commerce Department had submitted last month to the White House.

“We’ve got to have a chance to see the analysis done by the secretary in order to make thoughtful recommendations,” Mr. Wyden said in an interview.

Despite Mr. Trump’s support for the steel measure, he gave no indication of potential timing, Mr. Wyden added. “I didn’t feel which a decision had been made.”

Correction: February 13, 2018

An earlier style of which article misidentified the party affiliation of Senator Gary Peters. He will be a Democrat, not a Republican.

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