July 22, 2018 / 8:56 PM / 2 months ago

White House to showcase U.S. products as trade battles loom

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump will showcase American-made products ranging from beef jerky and cowboy boots to the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jet on Monday, as his administration wages trade battles on a series of fronts.

The motorcade carrying U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 16, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

A White House spokeswoman said on Sunday that Trump would make remarks at the exhibit designed to demonstrate the administration’s “commitment to ensuring more products are made in America.” Vice President Mike Pence, six Cabinet secretaries and some dozen other senior officials will also attend.

The U.S. Commerce Department held a hearing on Thursday into its investigation over whether imported vehicles and parts pose a national security risk. All major automakers, including Ford Motor Co, which will have an F-150 pickup truck on display at the White House exhibit, oppose imposing vehicle and parts tariffs of up to 25 percent.

Trump told CNBC on Friday he was ready to impose tariffs on all $500 billion of imported goods from China, threatening to escalate a clash over trade policy that has unnerved financial markets. Washington has already imposed 25 percent duties on $34 billion of Chinese imports and threatened 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods. China has retaliated on $34 billion of U.S. goods.

Citing national security, Washington imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico on June 1.

U.S. President Donald Trump boards Marine One to depart for travel to New Jersey from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., July 20, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

On Wednesday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will meet with Trump. EU officials have dampened expectations about what Juncker can achieve.

The finance ministers for Mexico and Canada said on Sunday they were optimistic about NAFTA talks with the United States, even as trade tensions spurred by U.S. tariffs dominated the G20 meeting of world economic leaders in Argentina.

Other products to be displayed at the White House on Monday include Wiffle balls and bats from Connecticut, Viking Range LLC stoves from Mississippi and Moon Pies sweets from Tennessee.

The White House will also show off cookie cutters from Vermont, pepperoni rolls from West Virginia, jeans from Oklahoma, gun safes from Utah, snowboards from Colorado and livestock feed from Iowa.

Lockheed Martin, which will display a model of the F-35 on the White House lawn, will also showcase the Orion Spacecraft, “the cornerstone of NASA’s future missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond,” the company said.

(This version of the story was corrected to delete words “a model of” in final paragraph referring to Orion Spacecraft)

Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington; Additional reporting by Mike Stone in Washington; Editing by Peter Cooney

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