Trump's push to expedite the investigations previous year was met with opposition by aluminum and steel users that said a larger number of jobs would be lost if the US placed tariffs on imports. He's considering taking action against the country, after a Commerce Department investigation earlier this year.
Representatives Rick Crawford of Arkansas and Mike Bost of IL, both Republicans, signaled support for Trump's approach during the meeting, as did Senator Gary Peters, a Democrat from MI.
The president instructed the Commerce Department a year ago to probe whether imports of steel and aluminum represent a threat to USA national security, under the seldom-used Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. "They were the giants, and now they're hanging on for their life". By putting tariffs on imports, it effectively raises the price of imports so that domestic steel and aluminum producers aren't being undercut. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, that it was easier to imagine bipartisanship on infrastructure than on DACA.
He said "You may have a higher price, but you have jobs". It's a violation of trade rules.
The measures come a month after the Trump administration slapped new tariffs on Chinese-made solar panels and washing machines.
He has another two months to decide on possible retaliatory action, but strongly indicated that he is leaning toward hitting back at Beijing.
But Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told the lawmakers that Section 232 powers "can be applied in a much more surgical way" that could lead to tariffs on imports from certain countries and quotas from other nations suspected of transshipping products.
The president's words drew caution from some federal lawmakers. "We don't want to cut off our nose to spite our face".
"You know, we make aluminum and we make steel" he said.
Trump's protectionist, nationalist message appealed to voters in the US" "Rust Belt', areas of high unemployment and poverty caused by the decline of traditional manufacturing industries. And Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, said that past tariffs imposed in 2002 by President George W. Bush on steel had cost jobs for auto parts companies.
"I have no idea why the U.S. still feel so insecure", Geng said, AP reported.
That pushback, which has garnered the sympathy of many pro-trade Republicans, appears to have turned a trade action that the White House initially viewed as relatively straightforward into a more extended affair. "In a statement, the Senator said he was pleased with how the meeting went today, and he will continue to push the president to do more to enforce our trade laws".