The White House is defending President Donald Trump's intention to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports by arguing that those industries form the "backbone" of the United States.
"The president feels strongly that we have to protect some of the industries that are the backbone of this country. We have to protect American workers," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. "We can't ignore these industries. It's a matter of economic and national security."
Last Thursday, Trump said he will soon institute a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports. The administration has defended the move as saying it will protect American workers, but several industries that rely on steel to manufacture their products claim the tariffs will cost them money, workers could be laid off, and consumers will pay more for goods.
On Monday, Sanders said the plan to tax the imports are part of Trump's agenda that he floated during his campaign.
"The president believes in free, fair, and reciprocal trade and hope other countries believe in the same," she said. "The president is doing everything he can to protect American workers and protect industries like the steel and aluminum industries that are so important to our country."
House Speaker Paul Ryan is urging the White House to reconsider the tariff plan, saying it could potentially erase economic gains that tax reform yielded.
Canada was the top supplier of steel imports in 2017, grabbing 16 percent of the market. Brazil (13 percent), South Korea (10 percent), Mexico (9 percent), and Russia (9 percent) were among the other top suppliers.
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