Republican Utah Senate candidate Mitt Romney on Friday took aim at President Donald Trump’s latest round of tariffs on Chinese goods, arguing that an escalating trade conflict between the two nations is a “tax on Americans.”
“I’m not a fan of trade wars. I hope the new tariffs going into effect today can soon be removed and replaced by a mutually agreeable trade agreement,” Romney wrote in a post on Twitter. “Trade wars are a tax on Americans. They have severe consequences for many employers and inevitably cost American jobs.”
The Trump administration formally imposed 25% tariffs on about $34 billion worth of Chinese goods on Friday. Trump has warned that the U.S. could enact tariffs on up to $550 billion in goods if the trade conflict escalates. China responded with $34 billion in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods, including soybeans and pork.
A former presidential candidate, Romney clashed with Trump through the 2016 election cycle. However, tensions between the two Republicans had eased in recent months, with Romney taking a softer stance on Trump’s policies and the president offering his endorsement for Romney’s bid for Utah’s Senate seat.
“Our national objective should be to open new markets, negotiate free and fair trade agreements, and to employ American innovation and productivity to out-compete the world,” Romney added. “one reason Utah is the fastest growing state in the country is because we export more than we import; that’s an instructive model for the nation.”
Chinese officials said the tariffs marked the beginning of “the biggest trade war in economic history” and said the nation would take countermeasures in the face of additional levies.
Aside from China, Trump has also enacted tariffs on U.S. allies, including Canada and members of the European Union.