WASHINGTON — Paul D. Ryan, the Republican House Speaker, blasted President Trump’s proposed steel and aluminum tariffs on Monday, saying they could lead to a damaging trade war.
“We are extremely worried about the consequences of a trade war and are urging the White House to not advance with this plan,” Mr. Ryan said in a statement. “The new tax reform law has boosted the economy and we certainly don’t want to jeopardize those gains.”
The statement was a dramatic departure for Mr. Ryan, the leader of Mr. Trump’s own party, who worked in lockstep with the president to pass a $1.5 trillion tax cut last year. While other Republican lawmakers have criticized the president’s trade action, this was Mr. Ryan’s first public comment since Mr. Trump announced last week that he would impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum.
Mr. Trump has shown no sign that he plans to retreat from the trade action and on Monday, he used the tariffs to threaten two of the United States’ closest trading partners, saying in a tweet that the tariffs would only “come off” of Canada and Mexico if a new and “fair” multilateral trade pact was signed.
The statement continued Mr. Trump’s running twitter defense of the tariffs, which he has positioned as necessary to help the United States protect itself against foreign competitors. But his administration continues to sow confusion over the breadth, scope and legality of the 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum that Mr. Trump announced last Thursday. The White House has said those tariffs would apply to imports from all countries with no exemptions.
Mr. Trump’s tweet came as the United States, Mexico and Canada are wrapping up the seventh round of talks over the North American Free Trade Agreement in Mexico City. Negotiators have continued to clash over provisions in the pact, including rules for auto manufacturing, and the United States has continued to insist on changes that its trading partners say are nonstarters.
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