Is Trump taking the right approach with tariffs?

My Take

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President Donald Trump says the tariffs his administration has placed on steel and aluminum and numerous Chinese goods are an attempt to force other countries to agree to new trade deals that are more favorable to the United States. Wisconsin’s U.S. senators, Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin, recently commented on the tariffs during separate appearances on “UpFront with Mike Gousha” on WISN-TV Channel 12.

Sen. Ron Johnson

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Sen. Tammy Baldwin

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The Trump approach

J: “I completely agree with President Trump’s goal about fair trade, reciprocal treatment. He’s shocking the system. America’s been incredibly generous in terms of opening our markets and our trading partners, both friend and foe, have taken full advantage of that. Previous presidents have tried to get fairer deals. We’ve made some progress, but probably not enough.”

B: “If (Trump) had gone with a ‘buy America’ strategy first, we would be in much better shape than what’s developing into quite a trade war with very negative impacts for Wisconsinites, whether it is our farmers who are in a crisis right now, or the crisis that consumers are seeing.”

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Targeting China

J: “The real problem…is China. They have been abusing the world trading system. They’ve  been stealing our industrial secrets, as well as our military secrets; that has to end.

B: “I am not opposed to tariffs if they are used strategically and smartly. And I think China has been cheating in ways that affect our national security. And they are an appropriate target for those types of tariffs.”

End game

J: “I think (Trump) realizes certainly before the election he needs to conclude these trade deals. He wrote ‘The Art of the Deal.’ People are looking at him to do a good deal. There is mounting pressure… from my standpoint (Trump has) weeks, no more than a month or two (to get new trade deals done).”

B: “We have seen very strong evidence that a trade war is…already here. And it will have detrimental effects on our economy and our families.”

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