Trade agreements need to be looked at, but at the end of the day, the United States needs to be involved in trade because it "makes things happen," Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., told CNBC on Thursday.
President-elect Donald Trump has promised to scrap deals and slap tariffs on countries like China once he takes office.
"A lot of people believe, and I do at times, that some of our trade agreements are lopsided and we've got to look at them. But that doesn't mean that we're going to put a tariff on everything. What we should do is promote trade in the world, not try to stifle it," Shelby said in an interview with "Power Lunch."
Trump's protectionist talk has sparked concerns around the world about possible trade wars. However, earlier this week, American financier Anthony Scaramucci, tapped to be an assistant to Trump in the office for public liaison, said he believes the new administration "does not want to have a trade war."
"[We] want to have free and fair trade," he said at an event at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, House Republicans are working on a plan for a border adjustment tax as part of its overall corporate tax plan. Trump had called the tax "too complicated" in a Wall Street Journal interview earlier in the week. However, on Tuesday, he told Axios the idea is "certainly something that is going to be discussed."
Shelby told CNBC he hasn't seen the details on that tax yet.
"We haven't seen the particulars yet. It's a little early. But I think a healthy debate — put it out in the open — let's see what Congress, how they feel about it and what we think it will do."