- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 4, 2018

Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday said President Trump’s recent move to impose new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports lets China “off the hook.”

China wins when we fight with Europe. China wins when the American consumer has higher prices because of tariffs that don’t affect Chinese behavior,” the South Carolina Republican said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

He said the United States’ re-engaging in the Trans-Pacific Partnership would have an effect on China.

“Hit them on intellectual property theft. Hit them on currency manipulation. Hit them about steel dumping,” he said. “China is winning and we’re losing with this tariff regime.”

“You’re letting China off the hook. You’re punishing the American consumer and our allies. You’re making a huge mistake,” he said. “Go after China - not the rest of the world.”

China’s share of total U.S. steel imports is considerably less than that of many other countries, including U.S. allies Canada, South Korea, and Mexico, though Mr. Graham said China still wields considerable influence.

“You correctly identified the problem of China dumping steel throughout the world to destroy the American steel industry,” he said. “Your solution is let China off the hook.”

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said China has “tremendous overcapacity” in both steel and aluminum and floods the world market, creating broader ripple effects.

“And so China is in many ways the root of the problem for both aluminum and steel for all countries of the world,” Mr. Navarro said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

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