Queens lawmakers in the House are wary of President Donald Trump’s actions and declarations of tariffs over products considered valuable to the U.S. economy, but do understand the need to renegotiate with China trade practices.
Trump instituted tariffs late last month on imported steel and aluminum products with a few exemptions. During the signing of an executive order, Trump said that the issue was related to “national security.”
“Steel is steel. You don’t have steel, you don’t have a country,” he said.
In addition, Trump is exploring a further $100 billion in tariffs against China, a country he often accuses of engaging in “unfair trade,” that is fueling fears of a trade war.
U.S. Rep. and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-Sunnyside, Astoria, College Point, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona, Woodside, The Bronx) noted that the President’s proposal would cause a “potential trade war” with China and further hurt residents across the country.
“Americans deserves better and I hope President Trump will one day soon put forward a vision for how to grow our economy and govern responsibly,” he said.
One lawmaker, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica, Laurelton, Rosedale, Cambria Heights, Saint Albans, Springfield Gardens, Far Rockaway, JFK Airport), joined with others officials in the House for a letter warning of the current tariff discussions. This was submitted to various congressional committees
“There are certainly serious concerns with Chinese overcapacity in steel and aluminum production that America and its allies need to address, but the administration is taking the wrong approach with these broadly applicable tariffs that are already causing chaos and confusion for our nation’s economy, national security, and trade relations with our allies,” wrote Meeks, Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Rick Larsen (D-Wash.).
U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Rego Park, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth) expressed worry that the solution of tariffs could cause more harm than intended.
“The United States must take action against unfair trade practices that negatively impact our country,” she said. “But such action must be smart and calculated, and not have damaging effects on U.S. workers, businesses and other American industries. I will be watching closely as the debate over these proposed tariffs move forward.”
U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Long Island, Whitestone, Glen Oaks, Floral Park) also acknowledged concern over China’s role in breaking with traditional trade customs yet felt the current discourse over tariffs was not helpful. Furthermore, he explained that an instituted tariff would hurt both consumers and industries in his district.
“In this era of global supply chains, a tit-for-tat cycle of retaliatory tariffs doesn’t serve the interests of my constituents. I would consider a role for tariffs, but only as part of a comprehensive China strategy, ” Suozzi said.