WASHINGTON, D.C. - President Donald Trump’s new taxes on steel and aluminum would harm Georgia, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson said Friday.
Trump announced his administration would impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports as early as next week.
“American manufacturing is expanding at its fastest pace since 2004, but this proposed tax would slam the brakes on the pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda that Congress and the president have been fighting for. Georgia has made great strides in attracting manufacturing jobs and building our workforce to meet that new demand,” said Isakson.
“These tariffs on aluminum and steel are not only a new tax on American consumers, but also an impediment to economic growth. It is my hope that the administration will work to address unfair trade policies and overcapacity by certain global actors that have plagued these industries, but with a targeted approach that does not harm American workers and consumers.”
In Georgia, manufacturing and trade industries account for $54 billion in economic output. Many of Georgia’s leading manufacturers depend on access to aluminum and steel products, and Iaskson said there is not sufficient domestic supply for these materials to meet the needs of Georgia manufacturers.
Isakson has sent a number of letters to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in support of the domestic steel industry and manufacturers, arguing that import restrictions would negatively affect the industry.
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U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, a frequent supporter of Trump, also denounced what he called "a tax hike the American people don’t need and can’t afford," and he urged the president to reconsider.
The American International Automobile Dealers Association said car sales are already flat, and "the burden of these tariffs, as always, will be passed on to the American consumer."
The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 350 points in the hours after Trump's comments.
Proposed tariffs have also drawn objections from members of Trump's staff, ranging from White House economic adviser Gary Cohn to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Trump is sticking up for the American worker. She also said no one should be surprised by the announcement, and that Trump campaigned for president on the issue of higher tariffs.
USA Today contributed to this report.