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Video: Sen. Mark Warner Says Trump’s “Trade Wars Are Good” Comments Are Reckless; Tariffs Will Hit Critical Virginia Industries

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From Sen. Mark Warner:

BROADCASTERS: At a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee held today, Virginia Senator Mark Warner challenged President Trump’s claims that “trade wars are good,” claiming that the Administration’s current trade policies are hurting American consumers and jeopardizing American jobs. Warner noted that while there is a growing recognition about the threat that adversaries like China pose to the United States, President Trump missed an opportunity to build an international coalition and has instead alienated U.S. allies. The Senator also warned that the President’s trade policies are going to hurt major Virginia industries, including craft brewers, farmers, and coal miners, and lead to higher costs for Virginia consumers.

Below is a transcript of Sen. Warner’s remarks:

Thank you Mr. Chairman and I appreciate you holding this hearing.

You know, I’m not even sure where to begin when it comes to this Administration’s approach on trade. When you have a President of the United States who starts by stating that “trade wars are good,” and we have absolutely no factual basis on that, I think you end up in the circumstances we have right now.

Let me tell you, I would be the first to agree that China does not play by the fair international rules. I’ve seen that particularly in my old industry of technology, where the price of admission for an American company into the Chinese market is to give their intellectual property. We’ve seen it with Chinese efforts on intellectual property theft and use of their students who attend our universities again to steal our intellectual property. And we’ve seen it with Chinese firms that don’t operate on market-based principles. They have enormous direct state subsidies. 

I would argue that the way to approach that would have been to build an international coalition. There was a growing recognition about the real threat that China poses, and there was an opportunity to build a coalition not only with our North American allies but also our European allies and many Asian nations who have been direct targets of Chinese aggressive action. 

But instead we’ve seen this Administration use a part of our law, Section 232 under national security provisions, to basically call out allies like Canada. And the Canadians have a right to be upset with this Administration’s portrayal of Canada. They are a friend, not a national security threat.

And clearly, in the realm of whether we are talking about Toyota’s supply chain that has been integrated across North America, these policies are going to hurt American consumers, they are going to hurt American jobs. In a state like mine in Virginia, where we actually have enormous net surpluses with many of our trading partners, this is going to hit us at the bottom line.

So action against China makes sense, but this Administration’s approach does not meet that criteria.