CNBC

Appearing on CNBC's Squawk on the Street Friday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross defended the steel and aluminum tariffs he helped promote and dismissed their price consequences as "broad," but "trivial."

Highlights:

  • Holding up a can of Campbell's soup, Ross argued that "there are about 2.6 pennies worth of steel. So if that goes up by 25 percent, that's about six-tenths of one cent on the price on a can of Campbell Soup...All this hysteria is a lot to do about nothing."
  • Why tariffs are needed: "The reason we've had to go this route is because the conventional trade methods don't solve the problem of global overcapacity and global dumping. You put a tariff on it coming from one country, they try to ship it through another one. It has to be broad, it has to be global in its reach in order to solve the fundamental problem."
  • Fears of retaliation: "I think this is scare tactics by the people who want the status quo, the people who have given away jobs in this country, who have left us with an enormous trade deficit, and one that's growing. It grew again last year, and if we don't do something, it will keep growing and keep destroying American jobs."

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