Mnuchin: No evidence tariffs, trade spats having negative impact

By Danielle Haynes Follow @DanielleHaynes1 Contact the Author   |  July 12, 2018 at 2:21 PM
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July 12 (UPI) -- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday the Trump administration hasn't seen any negative impact of trade battles with key U.S. allies, as members of the House Financial Services Committee offered examples of industries struggling because of the retaliatory tariffs.

Mnuchin appeared before the committee to answer lawmakers' concerns about how the tit-for-tat tariffs with China, European Union, Canada and Mexico are affecting U.S. jobs and revenues.

Reps. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., and French Hill, R-Ark., warned that soybean growers in their states stand to lose millions of dollars in sales to China after Beijing imposed 25 percent duties on certain U.S. agricultural products July 6.

Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, said car dealerships could take a hit, while Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., worried about the bourbon industry.

"Not only do tariffs harm American consumers, they harm many American employers and their American workers as well, since over half of our imports are intermediate components or raw materials for American businesses," said committee chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas.

Mnuchin said the Trump administration was "very carefully" monitoring domestic industries, but stood by the U.S. tariffs. He said the administration's focus on "free and fair trade" would instead benefit the U.S. economy.

"We have not yet seen any negative impact," he told the committee.

"We should be doing things that make sure our companies can compete fairly in the export market," he added. "They've unfairly targeted specific markets and that's not coincidental."

Mnuchin denied that the United States is involved in a trade war, but is instead "in a situation of trade disputes."

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