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Manchin echoes White House in blaming China for new Trump tariffs

Manchin echoes White House in blaming China for new Trump tariffs
© Greg Nash

Democratic Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSunday shows preview: Manchin makes the rounds after pivotal role in coronavirus relief debate Biden takes victory lap after Senate passes coronavirus relief package Schumer insists Democrats unified after chaotic coronavirus debate MORE (W.Va.) on Sunday blamed China for President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to sign executive order aimed at increasing voting access Albany Times Union editorial board calls for Cuomo's resignation Advocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout MORE’s decision to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

During an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union,” Manchin argued that while China may not be high on the list of steel exporters to the U.S., much of the steel imported into the United States comes from the Asian nation.

“When you look at who produces the steel in the world, 50 percent of the steel produced in the world comes from China. The United States is the largest importer of the steel,” Manchin said.

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“Connect the dots. Even though they’re saying it might not come directly from China, it comes ... through other countries.”

China is low on the list of steel exporters to the United States compared to countries like Canada and Brazil, according to CNN.

Trump, who often railed against China's trade practices on the campaign trail, last week announced a plan to impose a tariff of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum. His administration has focused on Beijing for influencing the president's decision to impose tariffs. 

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on Sunday argued that China has "tremendous overcapacity" and floods the world market, causing a trickle-down effect.

Manchin, a red-state Democrat who is up for reelection in a state Trump won by more than 40 points, also said he doesn’t “buy” the theory that prices are going to spike due to the tariffs.

Manchin expressed an open mind over Trump’s plan for trade. 

“So the president has put this on the table. I welcome it. Let’s look at it and see what they roll out,” he said.

-Updated 10:18 a.m.