McCarthy defends Trump on tariffs: ‘We are not in a trade war’

McCarthy defends Trump on tariffs: ‘We are not in a trade war’
© Greg Nash

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyNew Dem ad uses Paterno, KKK, affair allegations to tar GOP leaders Internet security expert: 'I don’t think it’s right to say’ tech giants are politically biased Poll: Republicans favor Scalise for Speaker; Dems favor Pelosi MORE (R-Calif.) on Sunday defended President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House counsel called Trump 'King Kong' behind his back: report Trump stays out of Arizona's ugly and costly GOP fight Trump claims he instructed White House counsel to cooperate with Mueller MORE's recent decision to implement steel and aluminum tariffs on key U.S. allies, including Mexico, Canada and the European Union (EU).

“I disagree with trade wars. I don’t think anybody wins a trade war but we are not in a trade war,” McCarthy told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

McCarthy denied that the president is pushing the U.S. toward a trade war.

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“We’re in a trade discussion to renegotiate [the North American Free Trade Agreement],” McCarthy added.

Trump announced last week that he would impose a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum on Mexico, Canada and the EU.

Trump first announced the steel and aluminum tariffs in March but provided select allies with a temporary exemption.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on “State of the Union” shortly after McCarthy was interviewed that the U.S. and Canada are not in a trade war but also refused to characterize the current issues between the nations as a “trade discussion.”

“A word that I would not use to describe it is ‘a trade discussion,’ ” Freeland said.

“I’ve now heard a few people, including people you’ve been interviewing, try to term what is happening between Canada and the U.S ... as a trade discussion,” Freeland told CNN’s Dana Bash.

The EU has opened a World Trade Organization case against Trump’s tariffs and Canada has announced it would retaliate with “dollar-for-dollar” tariffs against U.S. goods. Mexico has also targeted particular consumer goods in retaliation for the tariffs.