The goal of the Trump administration is to get a free, fair and reciprocal trade but if there is a trade war, the US is confident of winning it, the White House has said. Trump is scheduled to sign an executive order that would impose a 25 per cent tariff on import of steel and another 10 per cent on aluminium. His announcement of increase of tariffs last week, drew a sharp reaction from America’s major trading partners, including the EU and Canada. Trump’s decision sparked trade tensions with China which threatened to not “sit idly by” if the US tries to hurt its economic interests.
Yesterday, Trump said he is willing to consider lifting his proposed tariffs on import of steel and aluminium if there is a “new and fair” North American Free Trade Agreement, a deal signed by Canada, Mexico, and the US, creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America. “The president believes in free, fair and reciprocal trade, and hopes other countries will join him in pursuing that goal,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at her daily news conference.
Not only other countries, but also Trump’s own party has been opposing such a tariff increase. Prominent among them include the House Speaker Paul Ryan. “We have a great relationship with Speaker Ryan. We’re going to continue to have one, but that doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything,” Sanders said.
“The president has been committed and talked about this for many years, particularly on the campaign trail, and the people came out loud and clear and supported this president therefore supporting the policies that he campaigned on,” she said. Sanders said Trump wants to make sure that the administration is doing everything it can to protect American workers and to protect industries like the steel and aluminum industry that are so important to the country.
“The president, I think, is very confident that if that’s where we ended up we certainly would win. But that’s not the goal. The goal is to get free, fair and reciprocal trade and hope that other countries will join in,” she said when asked about the threat of a trade war if Trump goes ahead with his policy announcement.
Trump, earlier in the day said that he is not backing down. “President’s ultimate goal is to get free, fair and reciprocal trade. And, if China wants to come to the table and play ball and make some significant changes, then I think we’d be open to those conversations. But, at this point, we haven’t seen an indication of that taking place,” Sanders said in response to another question.