Six free trade advocacy groups wrote an open letter to President Donald Trump on Thursday urging him not to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from overseas.
The groups, who favor limited government and free enterprise and swing to the right on economic issues, called the economic case for the recently proposed import restrictions "weak" and warned that, rather than help protect American jobs, it would significantly hurt them.
The letter followed a recommendation delivered last week by the Commerce Department that would set sweeping new limits on imports of the commodities, arguing that relying on supplies from abroad could threaten U.S. national security and defense-related manufacturing capacity at home.
"The national security case to restrict steel and aluminum imports is thin and the toll such restrictions would take on the economy is considerable," the letter said, adding that a thorough assessment of America's suppliers, treaties and other agreements "makes clear that steel and aluminum imports do not jeopardize national security."
The six signatories, which ranged from avowedly conservative and libertarian to non-partisan, are the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), ALEC Action, the R Street Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, FreedomWorks and the National Taxpayers Union.