McCarthy defends Trump on tariffs: ‘We are not in a trade war’
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Sunday defended President Trump’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.
“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.