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GOP senator wants Trump to explain 'endgame' on tariffs

Sen. Rounds also said the U.S. should "quit fighting with Mexico and Canada."

by Kailani Koenig /

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WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. Mike Rounds on Sunday said President Donald Trump needs to explain his “endgame” to the American people when it comes to imposing tariffs on goods from foreign countries and said the U.S. should “quit fighting with Mexico and Canada.”

“I have no objections with the president, long term, trying to fix the relationships with China and holding them accountable,” Rounds said on Sunday’s “Meet The Press.” “Intellectual property in particular, they're stealing from us. But let’s just be clear, strategically, number one: we need other trading partners to help pick up the slack. And second of all, and this is, to me, absolutely important: I think he needs to be able to explain to the American what his endgame is. Where does he want to go? What's his final goal?”

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One month ago, Trump announced a move to impose tariffs of 25 percent on foreign steel and 10 percent on foreign aluminum, but left the room for some countries to be spared. China announced $50 billion in tariffs on American exports this week, while Trump said he’s weighing an additional $100 billion in tariffs on China.

Rounds wanted to ensure that U.S. neighbors are left out of any possible impending trade tiffs.

“Let's quit fighting with Mexico and Canada,” he added. “They are our allies.”

The senator also brought up the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement that Trump withdrew from last year.

“We had 11 other countries in the Pacific Rim area or right around China, who'd rather do business with us than with China. We stopped that negotiation a year ago,” he noted. “I recognize that the president thinks we can get a better deal if we do them individually. But it's been a year. We don't have any of them done. So number one, let's get those done.”

Also on Sunday’s “Meet The Press,” Trump’s trade adviser Peter Navarro claimed that the administration’s actions on tariffs are “both” a serious policy move as well as a negotiating tactic.

National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow this week noted that none of the tariffs have been enacted, and that they’re just “proposals” and up to discussion and negotiation.

But Navarro said Sunday the administration is “moving forward on a measured way” with administering them.

“That plan is being implemented, includes both tariffs to recover the damages that China inflicts, as well as investment restrictions,” he said. “We are proceeding in a measured way. And those tariffs will be imposed, and then investment restrictions will be imposed.”

“At the same time, there are discussions that are going on with the Chinese, with Ambassador Robert Lighthizer and with Secretary Mnuchin,” he added.

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