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U.S. senators blast Trump on commerce, vow to press for change in policy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican and Democratic U.S. senators blasted Trump administration commerce policy on Thursday and vowed to press forward with laws to give Congress a say in choices to impose tariffs on nationwide safety grounds.

U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) speaks on the Milken Institute’s 21st Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S. April 30, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/FIle Photo

Prompting criticism from a lot of his fellow Republicans and enterprise teams in addition to Democrats, Trump has imposed levies on imports of metal and aluminum from shut allies together with Canada, Mexico and Europe and is contemplating some on cars and auto components.

“I’m very concerned about the president’s trade policies and I think we all should be,” Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, mentioned at a listening to on tariff policy.

“These actions are hurting our business and farm communities all around the country. They’re damaging our international relationships.”

Joshua Bolten, chief government of the non-partisan Business Roundtable, a grouping of company CEOs, advised the committee that enterprise leaders fear the financial beneficial properties from Trump-backed tax reductions and cuts in regulation can be offset by commerce insurance policies that may elevate costs and value American jobs.

“Our overriding concern now is that those gains will be entirely reversed by major missteps in U.S. trade policy,” Bolten mentioned.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) attends a information convention on the VIII Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru April 14, 2018. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci/File Photo

The administration is also in a commerce dispute with China, with Beijing hitting again in opposition to Trump’s threats to impose tariffs on a whole bunch of thousands and thousands of of Chinese items.

Several senators mentioned Trump was making it tough to work with allies to counter China.

“It’s hard to partner up with countries to take on China and isolate China when we’re in a trade war with countries we seek to partner up with,” Senator Marco Rubio mentioned.

Lawmakers blasted witness Manisha Singh, assistant secretary of state for enterprise and financial affairs, for what they are saying is the administration’s failure to spell out a commerce technique and what they referred to as unwarranted assaults on U.S. allies.

Corker and different senators launched a bipartisan invoice final month that may drive Trump to get hold of Congress’ approval earlier than imposing tariffs on nationwide safety grounds.

But Republican congressional leaders – who management majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives and assist most Trump insurance policies – haven’t allowed a binding vote on the measure, settling as a substitute solely for a symbolic vote Wednesday.

Corker mentioned he would push for a binding vote “in the near future.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan solid doubt on Congress performing, telling reporters Thursday it might be higher to work with the administration to change the policy.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle

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