House Speaker casts doubt on Congress acting to stop trade tariffs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Thursday that while he does not support President Donald Trump’s moves to impose tariffs on major U.S. trading partners’ goods, he questioned the wisdom of Congress taking legislative action to stop such sanctions.

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“What’s more effective and constructive is to work with the administration to get the policy in a good place and that’s what we’re doing,” Ryan said in response to a reporter’s question. “I think that’s going to be more effective than trying to pass a piece of legislation that will not make it into law,” he added.

At his weekly press conference, Ryan noted that there is a “difference of opinion” over trade policy and added that Republican leaders in Congress “engage with the administration daily.”

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U.S. farmers and other businesses in states that strongly supported Trump’s election in 2016 have expressed concerns that their exports could be damaged by a trade war with China or European nations.

That has prompted some in Congress, including Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, to push legislation to give Congress a stronger role in the president’s decisions to impose tariffs for national security reasons.

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(Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Susan Thomas)

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