Tariffs almost give companies a license to hike prices: ex-commerce secretary

By PoliticsFOXBusiness

Tariffs give companies license to raise prices: Carlos Gutierrez

Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez reacts to the NAFTA negotiations and how tariffs play a role on global trade.

Former U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez told FOX Business’ Liz Claman that despite the exclusions in President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, companies will raise prices.

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“Tariffs almost give a license to companies to raise their prices, maybe in anticipation that the exclusions will come off or just simply because you are going to have an umbrella and some of your competitors will be subject to the tariffs,” Gutierrez said on Friday.

Gutierrez said he was surprised to see that Japan has yet to be excluded from the tariffs after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with Trump at his Palm Beach estate.

“He still has to pay the tariffs, which is pretty amazing considering that Japan is an ally, we need them,” Gutierrez said during an interview on “Countdown to the Closing Bell.”

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U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin explained why there’s a bigger cloud that involves a different kind of trade deal with Japan regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

“The president said we would consider going back into the TPP under a renegotiated deal,” Mnuchin said during an interview with Claman. “Japan is a part of that market. The president was very clear. We want to negotiate a bilateral agreement with Japan.”

Mnuchin added that Japan is the largest part of the trade process of the TPP.

Gutierrez, who served as commerce secretary under President George W. Bush, said the U.S. withdrawal from TPP will be considered as one of the worst policy decisions ever made.

“We should get right into TPP as quickly as possible,” he said. “Not play around with more negotiations, but get back in.” 

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