Top Republican Ryan leads GOP backlash against Trump tariffs

Top Republican Ryan leads GOP backlash against Trump tariffs

Paul Ryan
House Speaker Paul Ryan visits employees and hosts a Q&A at The Home Depot Store Support Centre on Mar 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images/AFP)

WASHINGTON: The top Republican in the US Congress, Paul Ryan, publicly denounced President Donald Trump's imposition on Thursday (Mar 8) of steep tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium.

"I disagree with this action and fear its unintended consequences," the speaker of the House said in a statement, while welcoming the temporary exemptions granted to Mexico and Canada.

"We will continue to urge the administration to narrow this policy so that it is focused only on those countries and practices that violate trade law," Ryan added.

The House speaker's condemnation was swiftly echoed by other top Republicans in Congress, who fear the tariffs could spark a trade war and hurt the US economy.

"Trade wars are not won, they are only lost," said Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, who has been highly critical of the president in the past.

Flake called the tariffs "a marriage of two lethal poisons to economic growth - protectionism and uncertainty," and promised to draft legislation to nullify them.

Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican who chairs the Senate Finance Committee and who has enjoyed a close relationship with Trump, called the president's latest move policy "misguided."

"Simply put: This is a tax hike on American manufacturers, workers and consumers," Hatch said on Twitter.

"It undermines the benefits that the new tax law provides and runs counter to our goal of advancing pro-growth trade policies that will keep America competitive in the 21st century global economy," he said.

Source: AFP/de