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Trump, lawmakers meet at White House on addressing trade imbalances

U.S. President Donald Trump holds a meeting on trade with members of Congress at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 13, 2018.

Kevin Lamarque / REUTERS

Last Updated Feb 13, 2018 1:07 PM EST

The president met with a bipartisan group of lawmakers on trade matters, in particular on steel and aluminum dumping cases. During the meeting, he reiterated complaints he's made in the past about trade imbalances with Asian countries like China, Japan and Korea.

We made a much better solar panel, but we couldn't compete, the president said. "We have rebuilt China with the money they've taken out of the United States," he went on to say, referring to the U.S. as China's "piggy bank." He said that other countries are "dumping and destroying our industries," and "we can't let that happen."

Mr. Trump told the lawmakers present that he's considering imposing tariffs or quotas.

"I want to keep prices down but I also want to make sure that we have a steel industry and an aluminum industry. And we do need that for national defense," the president said. "If we ever have a conflict we don't want to be buying steel for a country we are fighting."

But Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, cautioned the president, "We need to be careful here that we don't start a reciprocal battle on tariffs. We make aluminum and we make steel in Missouri but we buy a lot of aluminum and we buy a lot of steel as well."

The president also made a joke about DACA, suggesting to Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, that it was easier to imagine bipartisanship on infrastructure than on DACA. "We want to help DACA -- you don't," Mr. Trump told Brown. Later, he said, "Everybody in this room wants DACA," adding, "It would be a great achievement."