President Donald Trump has said previously that trade wars are "good and easy to win" and announced May 31 he would move forward with the placement of hefty tariffs on imports of steel and alumininum from European Union countries, Canada and Mexico.
But the president's action prompted U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Plano, to join with 106 of his colleagues in congress in siging a letter to the president urging that he take a more "tempered approach to minimize negative" economic consequences from the escalating trade war.
Hultgren's office issued the following statement from the congressman in response to Trump's tariff announcement:
“As I have talked with job creators throughout the 14th District this week, they’ve told me how tariffs could harm the future of their businesses and the people who work there. These tariffs are already having harmful effects on the country. Mexico and the European Union have already announced retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods like produce, meat products and various metal products—many of which are produced in Illinois. Canada has threatened similar action. This escalating trade war will have devastating impacts on our American manufacturing and agricultural sectors. I have fought hard to ensure that manufacturing businesses and farmers in my district have the ability to expand, produce and compete globally. Free trade has helped my district, Illinois and our country prosper, and protectionist policies like tariffs only increase the cost of products and commodities produced here and lead to the loss of American jobs. At this time of economic growth, the last thing we should be waging is a trade war.”
In their letter to the president, Hultgren and his congressional colleagues expressed their concerns and asked the president to take a more tempered approach to minimize negative consequences. They recommended an exclusion for all fairly traded products that do not pose a national security threat, and for those that are unavailable from U.S. sources, as well as grandfathering of existing contracts to purchase aluminum or steel so as to avoid disrupting current projects that are already budgeted and underway. Further, they advised that the effects of the tariffs on the economy should be reviewed and reconsidered on a short-term basis to determine if a different approach would better serve the interests of American workers, job creators and consumers.