A trade official for Britain’s majority party on Wednesday told a parliamentary committee that the British government is “very disappointed” in President Trump ‘s announcement of new tariffs on aluminum and steel imports.
Junior trade minister Greg Hands said that the government, led by Prime Minister Theresa May, would wait until the full tariff plan was released before commenting further on the issue, according to Reuters.
“We are very disappointed by the President’s apparent intention to do this, but we do actually await something concrete as to what may actually happen,” Hands said.
The comments follow a phone call between May and Trump on Sunday, during which May, the leader of Britain’s Conservative Party, reportedly expressed “deep concern” about Trump’s tariff proposal.
May added that “multilateral action was the only way to resolve the problem of global overcapacity in all parties’ interests,” according to a Downing Street representative.
The president shocked many in Washington and around the world last week when he announced steep tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports, a proposal many have dismissed as protectionist and warn could start a global trade war.
Trump, however, has welcomed such reports, claiming in multiple tweets that trade wars are “easy to win.”
“When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade any-we win big. It’s easy!” the president tweeted this week.
The British steel industry was one of many groups that panned Trump’s announcement over the weekend.
“This would be a unilateral, and extremely blunt, approach to what is a complex global problem of overcapacity in the steel sector,” Richard Warren, head of policy at UK Steel, said in a statement. Similar statements and threats of retaliation were issued from European Union officials, prompting retaliation from Trump.
“If the E.U. wants to further increase their already massive tariffs and barriers on U.S. companies doing business there, we will simply apply a Tax on their Cars which freely pour into the U.S. They make it impossible for our cars (and ) to sell there. Big trade imbalance!” he wrote on Twitter.
Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic adviser, resigned on Tuesday amid growing rifts over the tariffs.
Cohn, director of the White House’s National Economic Council, said he was stepping down on Tuesday after weeks of speculation that he and Trump were moving farther apart on trade policy.