Rep. Markwayne Mullin: Trump isn’t starting a trade war, he's helping to restore 'Made in America'

It is no secret that President Trump supports products being made in America. He is a strong advocate for bringing back the middle class by returning manufacturing jobs to the states. A ‘Made in America’ comeback would revive the manufacturing industry we’ve slowly been losing to other countries and boost the economy and workforce.

On Thursday, President Trump announced a 25 percent tax on imported steel and a 10 percent tax on imported aluminum. As one can imagine, this ruffles feathers in the halls of Congress. 

Some members of Congress believe the president is unquestionably starting a trade war. Others believe the time to return manufacturing jobs in the rust belt and across industrial America is long overdue. 

I believe President Trump is starting a conversation to ensure America remains a key player in competitive manufacturing and trade. However, we have to make sure that these tariffs do not have unintended consequences, such as making exceptions for products that cannot be made in the United States.

President Trump isn’t starting a trade war, and if you think he is—you’re blind to the fact that we are already in the middle of one. 

Last year, the United States grew its trade deficit to $566 billion.  The president is bringing everyone to the negotiating table. After the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act last December, we now have one of the most competitive tax codes in the world.  It’s important that we use it to our advantage when it comes to trading goods with other countries.  While other countries will continue to look out for their own best interests, I’m grateful President Trump is looking out for ours.

When our car manufacturers market cars in China, there is a 25 percent tariff added to the cost. This is not free or fair trade.  However, China believes they shouldn’t be paying tariffs on products that come to the United States. Other countries feel similarly. The trade deals these countries operate under are drastically in their favor. These countries want free trade when it comes to trading with the United States, but they do not extend the same to us when we try to sell products to their countries.  They claim they do this in order to protect their working class.  Shouldn’t we be doing the same? 

President Trump is a negotiator. He was elected by the American people because he is a businessman aiming to Make America Great Again, not a politician who is loyal to a political party but one who is loyal to the American working class. Our international trade deals are outdated and in need of renegotiation. This is exactly what President Trump was elected to do: negotiate a deal that works in the best interests of the American people.

Congressman Markwayne Mullin was first elected to serve the people of Oklahoma’s Second Congressional District in November 2012. He is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee whose broad jurisdiction includes issues important to rural Oklahoma including commerce, manufacturing, energy policy, and health care.