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Toomey: Proposed Tariffs Are 'Big Mistake'

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum by President Donald Trump has caused a divide among Republican legislators. Sen. Pat Toomey, who is against the tariff, joined The Dom Giordano Program on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT to explain.

"I think the tariffs are a big mistake. I think the policy is very, very counter productive. It makes no sense. If there is a problem with steel, a problem that needs to be addressed, it's Chinese over capacity. The Chinese, in an attempt to accelerate their industrialization in decades past, they built massive capacity to make steel and that's true, that's a fact. We can have a good debate, about what American policy should be about that fact. Here' s the reality, because of perceived violations of trading norms, we've already punished the Chinese in the past and today, American imports from China are trivial. They only provide 2 percent of the steel we import."

Toomey explained that the tariff impacts Canadian steel more than China, rendering the tariff useless.

"We manufacture 75 to 80 percent of all the steel we consume domestically. Our biggest imported source is, for this modest amount that we do import, is Canada. By the way, Canada buys from us as much steel as they sell to us, we just happen to have an almost equal balance of in trade of steel with Canada. So what we're doing is were slapping a tariff on Canadian steel, which makes no sense at all, they don't impose that kind of tariff on our steel but we're doing that. China is completely unaffected because we already don't buy steel from China.

Despite the criticism of it from President Trump himself, Toomey went on to tell Giordano that NAFTA has been an overall success for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

"Since we signed NAFTA, Pennsylvania's exports to Mexico are up 500 percent. I mean it just totally opened up Mexico to all kinds of chemicals and manufactured goods, transportation equipment, the things that we sell to Mexico, that we export generally from Pennsylvania have gone through the roof. The exports that we sell to the Canadian and Mexican companies add up to more than we export to the next 10 Countries. They're number one and two."

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