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Washington delegation takes stances against Trump tariffs

UPDATED: Tue., March 6, 2018, 10:08 p.m.

WASHINGTON – Talk of trade wars is circulating around the nation’s Capitol.

Legislators had mixed reactions following President Trump’s move to place a 25 percent duty on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports. House Speaker Paul Ryan already has said that Trump needs to be “more surgical” with the tariffs to ensure they don’t cause collateral damage.

Washington lawmakers were on the same page regarding a possible trade war. Here’s a roundup of what they had to say:

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers: “I’m urging the President to reverse course on his recently announced tariffs on steel and aluminum because of the impact it would have on our trade relationships and our economy. What’s more, leaving NAFTA, KORUS, or other trade agreements, as the President has threatened, would potentially wreak havoc on Eastern Washington’s economy, as will the continued slow pace of negotiating new trade deals and opening new markets.

“The bottom line is that Washington is the most trade-dependent state in the nation, and especially for Eastern Washington, our farmers rely on open markets to sell their crops all over the world. Broad-reaching tariffs have the potential to spur retaliation that will reduce our competitiveness abroad. I hear about these trade challenges all the time as I meet with farmers in our community. They are worried, and rightfully so. Farmers and manufacturers in Eastern Washington have, and will continue to have, a champion for free and fair trade as I urge the administration to walk back tariffs, stop threats, and move more quickly on negotiating trade agreements that are good for all of us.”

Sen. Maria Cantwell: “Spokane is an important supply hub for the aerospace industry. With one of the few trade surpluses – airplane export sales – why would you want to make U.S. manufacturing more expensive? We need to address unfair trade practices, but Trump’s proposal will start a trade war. We are already seeing countries threaten retaliatory measures that would hurt Washington state businesses, such as our agricultural products.”

Sen. Patty Murray: “Perhaps no state stands to lose more from Trump-inflicted price increases and a trade war than ours, so I’m deeply concerned by the president’s push to impose tariffs so broadly and haphazardly. If enacted, the inevitable retaliation will hurt growers in Eastern Washington, drive up the costs of houses, cars, and everyday goods, and jeopardize our state’s economy. I hope cooler heads prevail in the Trump White House, and he abandons what amounts to a very real threat to workers and businesses in our state.”