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‘We’re not looking for a trade war’: US Commerce Secretary

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US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Wednesday said the United States is not seeking a trade war and the decision to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports was “thought through.”

“We’re not looking for a trade war,” Ross told the CNBC cable network, speaking a day after President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser Gary Cohn resigned in apparent protest over the controversial tariffs.

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“We’re going to have sensible relations with our allies,” he added, arguing that a jump in steel prices could be avoided with increased domestic production of the commodity.

Trump’s move on tariffs has infuriated US trade partners, but he says he was elected to protect American workers and industries harmed by trade policies.

Ross played down the Cohn resignation, insisting “this is not some sort of a palace coup.” He said the departing economic adviser “has been contemplating some sort of a move for some little while.”

The 57-year-old former Goldman Sachs executive lobbied passionately against the tariffs, but lost out to a decidedly more protectionist team that included Ross and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro.

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“This is not going to be a big trade war,” Ross said Wednesday. “The president would not have indicated flexibility on Canada and Mexico if he just wanted to do very extreme things.”

“This is an idea that’s been thought through over time.”

Trump said Canada and Mexico could be exempted from steel and aluminum tariffs if they showed greater willingness to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to address US interests.

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Shortly after Ross delivered his comments US foreign trade figures for the month of January showed a widening of the trade deficit, which reached its highest level in nine years at $56.6 billion in one month.

Trump took to Twitter Wednesday to emphasize that the annual US trade deficit had reached $800 billion last year — which he blamed on “bad policies & leadership” from his White House predecessors.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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