4min read
PREVIOUS ARTICLE Aust economy ready for liftoff... NEXT ARTICLE Banks, telcos, energy drag ASX...

Congressional Republicans on Thursday attacked US President Donald Trump’s announced tariffs on steel from the European Union, Canada and Mexico, warning that punitive measures should be targeting China instead of America’s allies.
‘These tariffs are hitting the wrong target. When it comes to unfairly traded steel and aluminum, Mexico, Canada, and Europe are not the problem – China is,’ said Congressman Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the chief tax-writing body in Congress. 
As the announced tariffs prompted threats of retaliation, and an immediate riposte from Mexico, Brady urged a continuation of exemptions for such major partners and called on the Trump administration to ‘find a solution’ instead of taking actions that risk a trade war.
While trade inequities exist between Washington and Europe, the far bigger beef is with Beijing, according to Senator Marco Rubio.
‘Instead of opening up another front in trade disputes, we should be teaming up with Europe to confront China,’ Rubio said, in comments similar to those of several Democrats.
The Trump administration has been working on finalizing some version of its trade sanctions on China announced in March that included restrictions on Chinese investment, export controls and 25 percent tariffs on as much as $50 billion in Chinese tech goods.
Senate Finance Committee chairman Orrin Hatch described the tariffs as ‘a tax hike on Americans’ that will have damaging consequences for consumers, manufacturers and workers alike.
‘In light of the mounting evidence that these tariffs will harm Americans, I will continue to push the administration to change course,’ he said in a statement.
Fellow Republican Senator Ben Sasse, an occasional Trump critic, offered a less delicate assessment.
‘This is dumb,’ he said. 
‘You don’t treat allies the same way you treat opponents,’ he added, warning that blanket protectionism was one of the triggers of America’s Great Depression.