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GOP Pa. senator: Tariffs 'very, very counterproductive'

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said on Wednesday that he believes President Trump is making a serious error with his recently announced tariffs on steel and aluminum.

"I think the tariffs are a big mistake. I think the policy is very, very counterproductive. It makes no sense," Toomey said in a radio interview.

The senator - who has spoken out on the issue before - said that instead of worldwide tariffs, the U.S. should focus on China in its attempts to address trade deficits.

"If there is a problem with steel, a problem that needs to be addressed, it's Chinese overcapacity," Toomey said. "The Chinese, in an attempt to accelerate their industrialization in decades past, they built massive capacity to make steel and that's true, that's a fact."

Trump announced last Thursday that he plans to set a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum.

Toomey argued that the steel tariff would impact Canada - from where the U.S. imports much of its foreign steel - more than China.

"So what we're doing is we're slapping a tariff on Canadian steel, which makes no sense at all; they don't impose that kind of tariff on our steel. but we're doing that," Toomey said. "China is completely unaffected because we already don't buy steel from China."

Pennsylvania's other senator, Democrat Bob Casey Jr., has expressed support for the tariffs, arguing that it would help Pennsylvania workers.

While Trump has yet to release the final text of the tariffs, The New York Times reported that he could do so as soon as Thursday.

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