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Senator Murray’s amendment to the National Defense Authority Act would enhance Congressional oversight of potential tariffs before they go into effect

Senator Murray letter to President Trump: “Your trade policy decisions pose a unique threat to Washington state workers, manufacturers, and businesses”

Canada, Mexico, and the European Union have already threatened billions of dollars in retaliatory tariffs on Washington state goods like apples, pears, cranberry juice, wood and steel products, and Washington state ports are significantly concerned about reduced shipments and lower export volume due to tariffs on steel and aluminum imports

(Washington, D.C.)  –Citing the potentially devastating effects of a trade war on Washington state families, workers, and businesses, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) has joined Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) on an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to reverse the May 31 tariffs President Trump imposed on all steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico, and European Union countries.

“As the most trade dependent state in the nation, Trump’s tariffs pose a unique and potentially devastating threat to Washington’s growers and our economy, as well as the millions of families who could see the costs of everyday goods go up,” Senator Murray said. “While we can and should recognize there is a problem with the overcapacity and oversupply of steel and aluminum from bad actors, President Trump’s reckless, scattershot approach is threatening relationships with our allies, including our neighbor Canada, and jeopardizing American exports. I urge President Trump: instead of alienating our allies, take steps to strengthen our relationships and work together to address unfair trade.”

The Bennet and Murray amendment restores tariff rates on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico, and European Union countries to levels that prevailed prior to the President’s action. It does not change the authority delegated to the President under existing trade enforcement laws, allowing President Trump and future presidents to use trade enforcement tools to address global overcapacity issues in steel and other industries and to impose tariffs for national security reasons, when justified. The amendment adds a requirement for the Secretary of Commerce to consult with the Secretary of State and Director of National Intelligence, in addition to the Secretary of Defense, on the national security implications of any proposed tariffs before they go into effect. It also enhances Congressional oversight by requiring additional consultation with Congress before an administration imposes remedies based on national security.

Additionally, Senator Murray wrote an official letter to President Trump expressing her deep concern over his treatment of our allies during the G-7 Summit and to lay out what’s at stake for Washington state. Nearly 40 percent of Washington jobs depend on international trade.

Senator Murray wrote: “Already, Canada, Mexico, and the European Union have threatened billions of dollars in retaliatory tariffs on Washington state goods like apples, pears, cranberry juice, wood and steel products. Washington’s ports, too – which move hundreds of millions of dollars of goods in and out of the country every day – are significantly concerned about the impact of your steel and aluminum tariffs, based on the $1.8 billion in steel and aluminum imported through our state’s ports last year. These tariffs are likely to result in reduced shipments and higher prices for their customers and shippers, and these impacts will only grow as retaliation on American goods affects export volume.”

You can read the full letter to President Trump here.

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