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New tariffs let China get 'off more or less scot-free': Former U. S. trade representative

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President Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs would affect U. S. allies, not China, says former U. S. trade representative.
The problem with President Donald Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs is that China gets “off more or less scot-free,” said former U. S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.
“There’s a real issue about overcapacity in steel and aluminum production around the world that is hurting our industry,” he told CNBC on “Power Lunch” on Friday. “That problem can really be traced back to China, where much of the overcapacity is emanating from.”
Froman, who served as trade representative under former President Barack Obama from 2013 to 2017, said the potential tariffs — 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum — is that they don’t “really hit China,” a major exporter of steel and aluminum.
“It hits Canada… it hits South Korea and Mexico and Germany and Japan,” he said. “Some of our closest partners and allies.”
Froman, who is now a distinguished fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said this environment could spark potential trade wars around the globe.
“It’s very hard to work with other countries, to build the kind of coalition you need, to put pressure on China,” he said of China’s excess capacity, “if at the same time we’re imposing tariffs on their exports — if we’re pissing off allies and partners.”
On Thursday, the president signaled that the U. S. would impose the tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum next week.
The U. S. is the world’s largest steel importer. U. S. steel imports have grown 219 percent since the second quarter of 2009.

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