Tags: Trump Administration | josh bolton | trade war | not winnable | steel | aluminum | tariffs

Josh Bolten Disagrees With Trump: Trade Wars Not 'Winnable'

Image: Josh Bolten Disagrees With Trump: Trade Wars Not 'Winnable'
A worker breaks down a metal tank at a scrap yard March 12, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.   (  BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Sunday, 04 March 2018 03:02 PM

President Donald Trump may have declared winning a trade war is easy, but that's not the case, Josh Bolten, president and CEO of the Business Roundtable and former chief of staff for President George W. Bush, said Sunday.

"Every modern president has faced some trade skirmishes during their time, but they've all been wise enough not to let it descend into outright trade war," Bolten told "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace.

Trump tweeted Friday that that winning a trade war is easy, and responded to the European Union's plan to issue tariffs on American-made goods with a threat of his own against European-made automobiles.

"The tweets by the president, including a tweet about responding [to] German autos on Friday, suggest that he thinks a trade war is easy, that it's winnable. It isn't. Nobody wins a trade war, especially in these globalized days in the United States, when we are so dependent on goods coming and going out," Bolten told Wallace.

While Bolten was with the Bush administration in 2002, it imposed a 30 percent tariff on steel imports, with some exemptions. Two years later, the tariffs were lifted after the European Union appealed in front of the World Trade Organization and won, and on Sunday, Bolten said the Trump White House should learn from the mistakes of the past.

"All of the economics studied after that showed we lost more jobs in the downstream industries than we saved in steel," said Bolten. "Steel wouldn't be in the problem it is today if those measures had been effective. It is a very important difference between what President Bush did and what President Trump is proposing to do."

Bush's measures, and most other trade decisions, are usually done under the WTO-accepted Section 201, a legal procedure that requires going before an independent body to prove injury, said Bolten.

"If you succeed in making a showing of a serious kind of injury, the products get pared back as they did for President Bush," Bolten said. "Then internationally, that's generally accepted as a way to proceed."

Nonetheless the EU took the Bush administration to the WTO, and won their case, resulting in Bush removing the tariffs, said Bolten.

However, Trump plans to proceed under a statute called Section 23, said Bolten, or under the guise of national security, a section that's only been used twice in the history of the United States, against Iran and Libya over oil.

"That's real national security," said Bolten. "In this case, even his secretary of defense doesn't think the national security is implicated."

Earlier on the program, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said he doesn't think there will be retaliation over the sanctions, but Bolten disagreed.

“I don’t know if Peter Navarro would be willing to bet his job that he's right that there won’t be retaliation," Bolten said. "He ought to be willing to make that bet because he’s betting the jobs of tens of thousands of Americans who depend on these export markets, that there won't be retaliation."

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President Donald Trump may have declared winning a trade war is easy, but that's not the case, Josh Bolten, president and CEO of the Business Roundtable and former chief of staff for President George W. Bush, said Sunday."Every modern president has faced some trade...
josh bolton, trade war, not winnable, steel, aluminum, tariffs, lose other jobs
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2018-02-04
Sunday, 04 March 2018 03:02 PM
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