President Donald Trump denied Monday that he was considering backing down on his proposed tariffs on aluminum and steel.
“No, we’re not backing down,” Trump said, speaking to reporters in the Oval Office during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu. He did not directly respond to Speaker Paul Ryan, who expressed concern about the tariffs possibly hurting the economy.
Trump put the proposed tariffs of ten percent on aluminum and 25 percent on steel in the context of NAFTA, working with Mexico and Canada to renegotiate the free trade deal.
“We’ve had a very bad deal with Mexico, we’ve had a very bad deal with Canada, it’s called NAFTA,” Trump said. “Our factories have left our country, our jobs have left our country, for many years. … We are renegotiating NAFTA as I said I would, and if we don’t make a deal, I’ll terminate NAFTA.”
Trump said that reducing the proposed tariffs with Mexico and Canada could come through a renegotiation of NAFTA, but that they would apply to both countries “100 percent.”
“People have to understand, our country on trade, has been ripped off by virtually every country in the world, whether it’s friend or enemy,” he said.
Trump appeared unconcerned by fears of a “trade war” between various countries over his proposed tariff.
“I don’t think we’ll have a trade war,” he said.