Sullivan knocks Trump tariff as bad for Alaska

Sen. Dan Sullivan speaks to reporters in the Senate Reception Room. (Photo: Liz Ruskin)

President Trump is expected to announce new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum Thursday. Sen. Dan Sullivan wishes he wouldn’t. Sullivan says a trade war could slow the U.S. economy.

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“And you know, I do worry about retaliation,” Sullivan said. “I also worry about retaliation with regard to Alaska products. Right? We’re a huge exporter, particularly of fish and natural resource products.”

Sullivan joins a growing list of Republicans in Congress who are speaking out against the President’s proposal. The senator was in Houston on Monday for an oil industry conference. He says industry executives told him the tax on imported steel could be bad for energy projects in Alaska, including the proposed pipeline to carry liquefied natural gas from the North Slope.

Sullivan says the Alaska LNG project is also losing a well-placed champion with the resignation of Gary Cohn as Trump’s chief economic advisor.

“Gary Cohn’s actually been one of the guys who’s been very strongly focused on helping the AKLNG project, in the White House,” Sullivan said. “So from that perspective, it’s not a positive development.”

Trade groups for the oil and pipeline industries say their businesses require specialty steel that few U.S. steelmakers produce. A natural gas trade association says the tariff could have the unintended consequence of stalling LNG export facilities – projects that would’ve improved the U.S. trade imbalance.

Sullivan says a steel tariff should be focused on China, rather than countries that are U.S. allies.