WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US President Donald Trump faced growing pressure on Monday from political and diplomatic allies as well as US companies urging him to pull back from proposed steel and aluminium tariffs, although he said he would stick to his guns.
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Inside the White House, there still appeared to be confusion about the timing and extent of the planned tariffs, which would hit allies like Canada and Mexico hard.
Efforts by Trump and US trade negotiators to link the Nafta trade pact talks to the duties received short shrift from Ottawa and Mexico City.
Leading Republicans turned up the pressure on Mr Trump, with House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan leading the charge. Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin would be hit by proposed European counter-measures on Harley-Davidson Inc motorbikes.
Representative Kevin Brady, another top House Republican, called on Mr Trump not to hit America’s closest allies.
Business leaders are pressing for a meeting with Mr Trump to brief him on the negative repercussions of the tariffs on companies that use steel and aluminium, a source familiar with the matter said.
A meeting had not yet been set up, the source said. The White House had no comment.
The planned tariffs have roiled world stock markets as investors worried about the prospect of an escalating trade war that would derail global economic growth. Stocks across the globe rose on Monday, however, after four days in decline as investors saw the tariff threats as a US negotiating tactic and not a done deal and as pressure grew on Mr Trump to back off.
“We’re not backing down,” Mr Trump said during a White House meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “I don’t think you’re going to have a trade war,” he added, without elaborating.