Toomey and Trump could differ on trade

President-elect Donald Trump (left)

President-elect Donald Trump (left)

Pennsylvania’s Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey won re-election last week while keeping his distance from presidential nominee Donald Trump. He said last week he expects to have a productive relationship with Trump, but the two will likely have some differences in the area of international trade.

Trump spent much of the campaign saying America has lousy trade deals that kill U.S. jobs, and that if China, Mexico and other countries won’t cooperate in giving American companies fairer treatment, he’ll hit them with high import tariffs on their products.

Toomey, a longtime champion of open markets and free trade, said he’s expecting to have differences with the new president.

“To the extent that he can improve existing trade agreements from the American point of view, that’s great, I’ll be in favor of that,” Toomey said. “But if anyone comes along and says we should put a 40 percent tax on imported goods, that’s a very bad idea, and I’ll oppose it.”

Toomey spoke positively about the Trans Pacific Partnership Trade proposal, and he voted last year for legisation which would ease its eventual passage.

During his re-election campaign, though, when his Democratic opponent Katie McGinty and both presidential nominees opposed the deal, Toomey modified his stance. He said, after a careful review, he felt the proposal didn’t adequately protect American interests and that it should be renegotiated.

The fact-checking website PolitiFact rated Toomey’s postion a flip-flop.

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