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Politics

Portman says Trump's Use of Canadian Tariffs Could Hurt Ohio Workers

Portman was the U.S. trade rep in the Bush administration.
Portman was the U.S. trade rep in the Bush administration.

Ohio U.S. Sen. Rob Portman says he’s concerned about the escalating trade dispute with Canada. And the Republican says he disagrees with the Trump administration’s reasoning for higher tariffs on Canadian goods. 

Trade and national security

Portman, who served as U.S. trade representative in the Bush administration, says he’s concerned that the Trump tariffs on Canadian steel and other products will boomerang, ultimately hurting U.S. workers and getting in the way of a better North American Free Trade Agreement. He also rejects the administration’s rationale for imposing the tariffs.

“We’re risking escalating tariffs on both sides. So 232 is meant to be used for national security, and it should be used for that purpose only and it should be used selectively.”

The Trade Expansion Act’s Section 232 has been used only twice since the U.S. joined the World Trade Organization more than 20 years ago.  Portman says he can see it being applied to a narrow set of products and countries – such as electrical steel imports from China -- but not used more broadly.

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