Rep. Cole Supports Tariffs….but Urges Caution in Dealing With U.S. Friends and Allies

Count Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole among those supporting President Trump’s plan to increase tariffs on foreign imports of steel and aluminum.

Writing in a recent column, the Republican Representative said having open markets is not an invitation for others in the world to take advantage of the U.S.

“When bad actors exist, we have every right to use our power to protect our interests. I agree with President Trump that the U.S. is engaged in bad trade deals that were negotiated during previous administrations, and it is time to renegotiate the terms to support our own economy.”

However, Rep. Cole also said the President must be cautious about punishing “our friends and allies that we rely on.” Instead, he said the tariffs should target countries that violate current trade law.

“Although it is important that the U.S. address the abuses in trade practices from its global partners, a broadly-based tariff could severely harm relations between the U.S. and countries like South Korea and the United Kingdom,” wrote the Congressman. “Tariffs could also have an adverse impact on Oklahoma and the country’s agriculture industry.”

Cole said the tariffs could end up resulting in an increase in the price of tractors, mills, processors and trucks as well as retaliation from other trade partners.

“The U.S. can and should target the bad actors in our trade relations that cause economic harm to American suppliers. But we cannot alienate strong trade partners that we have in countries like Canada and Mexico. And furthermore, we cannot hurt the American competitive edge.”