Wilbur Ross: 'We're not trying to blow up the world' with tariffs

Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossEthics filings haven't yet shown Commerce chief's pledged divestments: report Trump blasts Congress for sending him omnibus bill that 'nobody read' The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE said on Wednesday that the Trump administration was "not trying to blow up the world" with the president's announced tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. 

"We're not trying to blow up the world. There's no intention of that. We want to balance our needs to fix the trade deficit with the needs of the economy, and the needs of the global economy itself," Ross told CNBC's "Squawk Box."


President TrumpDonald John TrumpScarborough mocks 'Deflection Don' over transgender troop ban Pelosi condemns Trump's 'cowardly, disgusting' ban on transgender troops Trump moves to ban most transgender people from serving in military MORE last week announced plans for the U.S. to slap a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum.

The proposal has faced widespread criticism from both parties and from the international community.

The president on Monday suggested that the steel tariffs could be used as leverage to speed up the completion of a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) deal. 

Negotiators for the U.S., Canada, and Mexico wrapped up their seventh round of talks last week without a resolution. 

"The president indicated the other day he has a willingness to give an exemption to Canada and Mexico, provided that we work things out in NAFTA," Ross said. 

"We're not looking for a trade war. We're going to have very sensible relations with our allies," he said. 

The announcement has put the U.S. at odds with some of its biggest allies.

Canada’s minister of foreign affairs, Chrystia Freeland, said the country would take “appropriate, responsive measures" to the tariffs, while the European Union said it would consider slapping tariffs on U.S. goods such as bourbon, Levi's denim, and Harley Davidson motorcycles.

Trump has defended the tariffs and said that if it triggered a global trade war, it could be a good thing and "easy to win." 

“When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win,” Trump tweeted last Friday.