President-elect Trump’s pick for Commerce secretary kept China’s trade policies in his cross-hairs throughout his questioning in front of the Senate Commerce Committee on Jan. 18, managing to remain critical of Beijing while calming the fears of some senators that the Trump administration will follow through on threats and impose a high tariff on Chinese goods.
[Daily News| January 18, 2017 |Inside US Trade]
Asked by Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) if a 35 percent tariff on goods from China would be “pro-growth or not,” Wilbur Ross said boosting exports is more important than slowing imports — and maintained that the use of trade remedies is crucial when justified.
“I think that the pro-growth thing is stimulating exports much more than just curtailing imports,” Ross said in response to Sullivan. “But tariffs — countervailing duties and punishments for people for dumping is essential, because there are inappropriate and illegal trade practices being performed and if you don’t really punish them you’re never going to modify their behavior. So there’s certainly a role for it there.”
Ross, pressed by freshman Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) on whether he could pledge that the Trump administration would not put in place “restrictive tariffs” that would “interrupt global supply chains,” argued, again, that the best way to improve U.S. trade policy would be to encourage more exports and incentivize companies to build manufacturing plants in the U.S. Doing so would require changes to tax policy and regulations as well, he noted.