Government

Ryan Likes China Tariffs, Not Trump’s Approach

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – While supportive overall of the tariffs President Donald Trump imposed Thursday on Chinese imports, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan says he disagreed with how the president handled it.
 
Trump imposed tariffs on $60 billion worth of China’s goods. At a signing ceremony for a presidential memorandum, Trump said he viewed China as “friend” and he has a “great relationship” with President Xi Jinping, but the U.S. trade deficit with the nation is anywhere from $375 billion to $504 billion.
“It’s out of control,” the president remarked.
 
China retaliated last night with a list of tariffs it would impose on about $3 billion worth of U.S. products including pork, recycled aluminum, steel pipe, fruit and wine.  
 
Ryan, D-13 Ohio, responded to the president’s action and the government funding bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday.
 
Ryan expressed his support for the tariffs Trump imposed as well as the Section 301 action targeting intellectual property abuses. He acknowledged “a lot of people are unhappy” about the president’s actions but they were “the right thing to do,” he said. “They’ve been cheating. This is our remedy.”
 
Even so, the Mahoning Valley congressman disagreed with Trump’s approach. In the week’s leading up to his actions Thursday, the president suggested a potential trade war would be “good” and created issues with other nations the United States has trade relations with.
 
“There’s a diplomatic way to handle this stuff so it has the least negative impact on the stock market, the global supply chain and those kind of things,” he said. “We need to be sensitive to that, which he sometimes isn’t, but I do support the underlying position.”
The Chinese Commerce Ministry reacted today by saying it is imposing $3 billion in tariffs on certain food products, recycled aluminum and steel pipes. China has said it could impose as much as $60 billion in tariffs on more farm products as well as airplanes.
 
Ryan has sent Trump a letter urging him to focus on “bad actors” and warned that actions against European imports could harm companies like Thomas Steel Strip in Warren. “They would be hurt pretty badly if a tariff was put on steel coming over from Europe,” he said.
Late Thursday the White House said European allies would be exempted until May 1 to give them time to negotiate “satisfactory alternative means,” according to The New York Times.
 
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 724 points, or 2.9% yesterday. Other indexes such as the Standard & Poor’s 500 and the NASDAQ were down as well.
 
“The stock market has been very emotional so the kind of approach Trump has creates more chaos than there needs to be,” he continued. “We are putting tariffs on Chinese steel. That’s a pretty big deal. You don’t need to add drama to that and he does, and the market reacts to it.”
 
During a phone interview, Ryan  called the budget bill, which he voted for, a “good compromise bill” and hailed several of its components, including a $3 billion increase in funding to address the opioid epidemic, $2.3 billion more for child care funding for working people and a $7 billion increase for the Veterans Administration.
 
The congressman pointed to $20 million for a defense industrial base initiative that will involve the U.S. Army and America Makes, the Youngstown-based manufacturing hub focused on additive manufacturing. America Makes is involved with a similar initiative at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton. The Army initiative would be based out of Pittsburgh.
 
“The Army will partner with universities, America Makes and defense industrial base companies on modern advanced manufacturing processes and technologies that will help the Army reduce the cost of their equipment,” Ryan said.
 
Additionally, the budget bill provides $1 billion for the Transportation Infrastructure Generating Economic Recovery – or Tiger – program. Youngstown was passed over in two recent rounds of Tiger funding, most recently earlier this month, but Akron, which Ryan represents, was not.
 
“The president had zeroed it out so we were able to get that bumped back up,” Ryan said.
 
The fiscal 2018 funding bill “contains several important provisions” that make good on several of Trump’s campaign promises, U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson said in a Facebook post.
 
These include a $655 billion rebuild of the U.S. military following what he characterized as “eight years of neglect” under President Barack Obama administration, $1.5 billion for the president’s proposed border wall and an additional $14 billion to strengthen border security.  
 
It also provides $21 billion for infrastructure upgrades and $625 million for broadband deployment, “a must for rural Appalachia,” he said. The funding “gets the ball rolling for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to create an accurate broadband access map to identify the real underserved and unserved areas and help close the urban-rural digital divide,” per legislation he introduced, he said.
Pictured above: President Donald J. Trump signs order placing tariffs on certain products imported from China.
 

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.