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Trump Reaffirms Commitment to Tariffs but Opens Door to Compromise

  WASHINGTON — President Trump, facing an angry chorus of protests from leaders of his own party, including the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan, insisted on Monday that he would not back down from his plan to impose across-the-board tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. But the White House was devising ways to potentially soften the impact of the measures on major trading partners.
The intense maneuvering, which began before Mr. Trump’s unexpected announcement of the tariffs last Thursday, is likely to delay any formal rollout of the measures until next week, according to several officials who have been briefed on the deliberations. On Monday, Mr. Ryan, the most powerful Republican in the House, broke with the president, declaring through a spokeswoman, “We are extremely worried about the consequences of a trade war and are urging the White House to not advance with this plan.” The tariffs, Mr. Ryan’s spokeswoman said, would “jeopardize” the economic gains from the recent Republican tax cuts. Mr. Trump appeared little moved by the pushback. One of his all-important barometers — the stock market — rebounded on Monday after falling sharply immediately after the announcement of the tariffs last week as the Republican dissent fueled optimism that Mr. Trump would ultimately reverse course. Opponents of tariffs, including many economists, warn they could damage economic growth by igniting a ruinous trade war, a prospect that Mr. Trump has alternately welcomed or dismissed as unlikely.But a person close to the White House said that the president was itching to impose tariffs, and that Monday’s stock market rebound had reassured Mr. Trump that he was in the right. “We’re not backing down,” the president said at the White House on Monday, as he reeled off a familiar litany about trade deals that he said had driven out factories and deprived American workers of jobs. But Mr. Trump did open the door to a compromise, at least with Canada and Mexico, which are in negotiations with the United States to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement.
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