FIRST ON CNBC: CNBC TRANSCRIPT: U.S. COMMERCE SECRETARY WILBUR ROSS SPEAKS WITH “SQUAWK ON THE STREET” TODAY

WHEN: Today, Friday, March 2, 2018

WHERE: CNBC's "Squawk on the Street"

Following is the unofficial transcript of a FIRST ON CNBC interview with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" (M-F 9AM – 11AM.) Following is a link to video from the interview on CNBC.com: https://www.cnbc.com/video/2018/03/02/commerce-secretary-wilbur-ross-trump-tariffs-will-have-a-broad-but-trivial-impact-on-prices.html?play=1 & https://www.cnbc.com/video/2018/03/02/watch-wilbur-ross-use-a-can-of-campbells-soup-to-defend-steel-and-aluminum-tariffs.html?play=1.

All references must be sourced to CNBC.

DAVID FABER: WELL, LET'S BRING IN THE U.S. COMMERCE SECRETARY, WILBUR ROSS, WHO JOINS US IN A FIRST ON CNBC INTERVIEW FROM FLORIDA. MR. ROSS, IT'S ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO HAVE YOU. PARTICULARLY AT THIS IMPORTANT TIME. LET ME BEGIN BY SIMPLY ASKING, ARE THESE TARIFFS GOING TO BE EXEMPTED FOR CERTAIN NATIONS, OR IS IT YOUR EXPECTATION THAT WHEN THEY ARE IMPOSED IT WILL BE ACROSS THE BOARD?

COMMERCE SECRETARY WILBUR ROSS: WELL, WHAT WAS ANNOUNCED YESTERDAY BY THE PRESIDENT IS A VERY BROAD CONCEPT OF 25% ON ALL STEEL AND 10% ON ALL ALUMINUM. SO WE'LL HAVE TO SEE THE INTRICATE DETAILS, BUT THAT CERTAINLY IS THE BROAD OUTLINE, AND, THEREFORE, IT WILL HAVE A FAIRLY BROAD EFFECT, BUT IT'S A TRIVIAL EFFECT, PEOPLE TALK ABOUT CARS. IT'S ABOUT ONE TON OF STEEL IN A CAR, AND THE PRICE OF A TON OF STEEL IS $700 OR SO, SO 25% ON THAT WOULD BE ONE-HALF OF 1% PRICE INCREASE ON A TYPICAL $35,000 CAR. SO IT'S NO BIG DEAL, AND IT CERTAINLY ISN'T ANYTHING THAT SHOULD HAVE TAKEN 2 POINT SOME ODD HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS OFF THE PRICE OF GENERAL MOTORS. IT'S A TREMENDOUS OVERREACTION.

FABER: ALRIGHT, I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE MARKET REACTION IN A MOMENT, BUT JUST COMING BACK TO WHAT YOU JUST SAID. SO IT WOULD APPLY, THOUGH, TO EVERY COUNTRY? WHETHER ALLY OR NOT IN TERMS OF THE IMPORT OF STEEL AND ALUMINUM FROM THOSE COUNTRIES. THAT IS YOUR EXPECTATION, CORRECT?

ROSS: WELL, THAT'S WHAT THE PRESIDENT SEEMED TO ANNOUNCE YESTERDAY –

FABER: WHAT DOES THAT MEAN, "SEEMED TO ANNOUNCE," COMMERCE SECRETARY? YEAH.

ROSS: LET'S ASSUME THAT TO BE THE CASE.

FABER: OKAY.

ROSS: THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME THAT WE'VE PUT TARIFFS ON STEEL. WE HAVE TARIFFS ON MANY FORMS OF STEEL. THE REASON THAT WE'VE HAD TO GO THIS ROUTE IS THAT THE CONVENTIONAL TRADE METHODS DON'T SOLVE THE PROBLEM OF SYSTEMIC GLOBAL OVERCAPACITY AND GLOBAL DUMPING. BECAUSE PEOPLE, YOU PUT A TARIFF ON IT COMING FROM ONE COUNTRY, THEY TRANSSHIP IT THROUGH ANOTHER ONE. SO IT HAS TO BE BROAD. IT HAS TO BE GLOBAL IN ITS REACH IN ORDER TO SOLVE THE FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM.

FABER: COMMERCE SECRETARY, YOU MENTIONED, OF COURSE, ON THE MARKETS REACTION, PERHAPS IN YOUR WORDS AN OVERREACTION, GIVEN THE ACTUAL COST THAT WOULD GO UP TO U.S. CONSUMERS OR TO MAKE GOODS THAT ARE -- THAT ARE MADE OF THESE UNDERLYING PRODUCTS. BUT THERE'S AN ARGUMENT TO BE MADE THAT THIS IS SIMPLY THE FIRST SHOT IN WHAT WILL BE CONTINUING PRESSURE FROM THIS ADMINISTRATION, PARTICULARLY AS IT RELATES TO CHINA, AND MANY PEOPLE POINTING TO THE 301 INVESTIGATION THAT WAS BEGUN BY THE USCR LAST AUGUST.

ROSS: AUGUST.

FABER: YEAH. LAST AUGUST. AND THE -- THE CONCERN/QUESTION ABOUT, WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN THERE? DO YOU EXPECT THE ADMINISTRATION TO COMMENT ON THE 301 INVESTIGATION? THE TECHNOLOGY TRANSFERS THEY SAY HAVE OCCURRED TO CHINA. YOU HAVE, IN FACT, IN THE PAST CALLED CHINA PROTECTIONIST DRESSED IN FREE MARKET CLOTHING.

ROSS: WELL, PROTECTION OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IS A VERY, VERY IMPORTANT ISSUE, AND THE CHINESE HAVE NOT BEEN VERY RESPECTFUL OF IT. BUT I'M NOT GOING TO PREJUDGE WHAT MIGHT BE THE OUTCOME OF ANOTHER INVESTIGATION. WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO DO, THOUGH, IS TO EMPHASIZE AGAIN THE LIMITED IMPACT. THIS IS A CAN OF CAMPBELLS SOUP. THIS, IN THE CAN OF CAMPBELLS SOUP THERE'S ABOUT 2.6 CENTS -- 2.6 PENNIES -- WORTH OF STEEL. SO IF THAT GOES UP BY 25%, THAT'S ABOUT 6/10 OF ONE CENT ON THE PRICE OF A CAN OF CAMPBELLS SOUP. WELL, I JUST BOUGHT THIS CAN TODAY, AT A 7-ELEVEN DOWN HERE, AND THE PRICE WAS $1.99. SO WHO IN THE WORLD IS GOING TO BE TOO BOTHERED BY 6/10 OF A CENT? HERE'S A CAN OF COCA-COLA.

FABER: NOBODY.

ROSS: HERE'S A CAN OF COCA-COLA.

FABER: OH, YEAH.

ROSS: COCA-COLA HAS THREE CENTS WORTH OF ALUMINUM IN IT. SO IF THAT GOES UP 10%, THAT'S 3/10 OF A CENT. I JUST PAID $1.49 FOR THIS CAN OF COKE. IT DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING. SO ALL OF THIS HYSTERIA IS A LOT TO DO ABOUT NOTHING. I EXPLAINED IT'S A FRACTION OF A PERCENT ON CARS. NOW, RETALIATION. RETALIATION IS NOT AS SIMPLE AS THE PEOPLE WHO ARE CRYING THAT THE SKY HAS FALLEN. AND I'LL TELL YOU WHY. TAKE A TYPICAL CROP, SOYBEANS. WE'RE ONE OF THE MAJOR SUPPLIERS OF SOYBEANS IN THE WHOLE WORLD, AND THE ONLY REASON CHINA OR ANYONE ELSE BUYS SOYBEANS FROM US IS THAT IT'S THE CHEAPEST PRICE THAT THEY CAN GET. SO THE FIRST THING IS, IF THEY WERE TO CUT BACK ON SOME AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS, IT WOULD COST THEIR ECONOMIES MORE. SECOND, IN MANY CASES, WE'RE SUCH A BIG FACTOR, THAT THEY WILL HAVE TROUBLE FINDING A SUBSTITUTE. WHERE THEY CAN FIND A SUBSTITUTE, THOSE AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS ARE ALREADY BEING SOLD IN SOME OTHER MARKET. SO TO THE DEGREE THERE'S DIVERSION FROM THAT PRESENT MARKET TO, SAY, CHINA, THAT WOULD OPEN UP THE OTHER MARKET FOR U.S. AGRICULTURE. SO I THINK THIS IS SCARE TACTICS BY THE PEOPLE WHO WANT THE STATUS QUO, THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE GIVEN AWAY JOBS IN THIS COUNTRY, WHO'VE LEFT US WITH AN ENORMOUS TRADE DEFICIT AND ONE THAT'S GROWING. IT GREW AGAIN LAST YEAR, AND IF WE DON'T DO SOMETHING, IT WILL KEEP GROWING AND KEEP DESTROYING AMERICAN JOBS.

MORGAN BRENNAN: SECRETARY ROSS, THIS IS MORGAN BRENNAN FIRST OF ALL, I REALLY APPRECIATE YOU BREAKING DOWN THOSE NUMBERS AND BRINGING US PROPS TO DO THAT. RECENT WASHING MACHINE TARIFFS. A LOT OF HULLABALOO AROUND THAT. AND THEN WITHIN DAYS YOU HAVE L.G. AND SAMSUNG COME OUT AND SAY THEY'RE MOVING FORWARD WITH THEIR U.S. BASED PLANTS THAT ARE UNDERDEVELOPED. I WONDER WITH THESE TARIFFS THAT ARE IN THE WORKS RIGHT NOW, HOW MUCH OF THIS IS ABOUT DUMPING STEEL AND ALUMINUM FROM OTHER COUNTRIES AND HOW MUCH IS ABOUT PUSHING COMPANIES, BE IT U.S. COMPANIES OR EVEN FOREIGN COMPANIES, TO INCREASINGLY SET UP SHOP AND DO MORE MANUFACTURING HERE IN THE U.S.

ROSS: WELL, LET'S TALK ABOUT THE WASHING MACHINES AND LET'S TALK ABOUT THE SOLAR PANELS. MANY OF THE SAME PEOPLE WHO WERE CRYING CHICKEN LITTLE NOW ALSO BE OPPOSED TO THOSE TWO MOVES. THE REAL REASON WHY LG AND SAMSUNG DECIDED TO DO FACTORIES, AND THEY'RE BIG FACTORIES – I WENT TO EACH OF THE GROUND BREAKING THESE ARE 100,000 SQUARE-FOOT FACTORIES. SO THEY'RE NOT SMALL THINGS, AND THEY'RE EXPANDABLE. THEY COULD EVEN BE A MILLION SQUARE FEET. I BELIEVE THE MAIN REASON THEY INITIATED THE FACTORIES WAS, THEY KNEW WE WERE GOING TO PUT TARIFFS ON. SIMILARLY, WITH THE SOLAR PANELS, THAT INDUSTRY HAD BEEN REDUCED FROM 32 DOMESTIC PLAYERS TO 2. NOW HALF A DOZEN COMPANIES HAVE ANNOUNCED THEY'RE GOING TO REOPEN CLOSED SOLAR PANEL FACTORIES. THAT'S WHAT WE NEED. WE CANNOT ALLOW DUMP MATERIAL TO KILL AMERICAN JOBS. WE SHOULD BE EXPORTING PRODUCTS, NOT EXPORTING JOBS.

CARL QUINTANILLA: MR. SECRETARY, ITS CARL. I JUST HAD A QUESTION. NOT OH MUCH ABOUT THE POLICY BUT WE ALWAYS COME BACK TO PROCESS IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER. YOU SAID THE PRESIDENT "SEEMED" TO ANNOUNCE THIS. THERE WERE REPORTS TRADE OFFICIALS WITHIN THE ADMINISTRATION WEREN'T EXACTLY CLEAR WHAT THE PRESIDENT WOULD SAY YESTERDAY. IS THIS NORMAL OR SHOULD WE HAVE EXPECTED POLICY TO HAVE BEEN AGREED UPON AHEAD OF TIME?

ROSS: WELL, THIS INVESTIGATION HAS BEEN FULLY VETTED BY THE INTERAGENCY PROCESS. WE HAD SIX OR EIGHT MEETINGS OF THE TRADE COMMITTEE. WE'VE GONE THROUGH NUMEROUS WRITTEN COMMENTS FROM VARIOUS OTHER AGENCIES. THERE'S BEEN NO END OF DISCUSSIONS, INCLUDING LOTS OF DISCUSSIONS WITH THE PRESIDENT. THE PRESIDENT HAS BEEN CONSISTENT ALL THE WAY FROM HIS CAMPAIGN DAYS TO THE PRESENT ABOUT DOING SOMETHING BIG TO PROTECT STEEL AND ALUMINUM. SO IT SHOULD NOT HAVE COME AS A SHOCK. NOW, AS TO THE IDEA OF DIFFERING VIEWS WITHIN THE WHITE HOUSE – SURE. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT THE PRESIDENT ENCOURAGES IS HEALTHY DISCUSSION WITHIN HIS IMMEDIATE WHITE HOUSE STAFF AND WITHIN THE CONGRESS DEPARTMENTS OF ANY BIG MOVE, BECAUSE THAT WAY HE'S SURE HE HAS HEARD ALL POINTS OF VIEW BY THE TIME HE MAKES HIS DECISION. BUT THERE'S ONLY ONE PERSON IN WASHINGTON WHO WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT. THAT'S DONALD J. TRUMP SO AT THE END OF THE DAY, IT'S HIS DECISION, AND I BELIEVE THAT EVERYBODY SHOULD RALLY AROUND THE PRESIDENT'S DECISION. WE ONLY GET TO HAVE ONE PRESIDENT AT A TIME.

BRENNAN: SECRETARY ROSS, I WANT TO GET BACK TO THIS IDEA OF JOBS. HAVE YOU CRUNCHED THE NUMBERS? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECTION YOU'RE WORKING ON IN TERMS OF HOW MANY JOBS YOU THINK THESE TARIFFS WILL CREATE IN THE U.S. VERSUS ELIMINATE?

ROSS: WELL, THERE HAVE BEEN SOMETHING LIKE 70,000 JOBS IN STEEL ALONE THAT WERE LOST FROM 1998 THROUGH LAST -- 2016. THERE'S BEEN A SIMILAR AMOUNT OF JOBS LOST IN TENS OF THOUSANDS OF JOBS LOST IN ALUMINUM AT THE SESSION YESTERDAY, JUST ABOUT EVERY SINGLE COMPANY THAT WAS THERE SAID ONCE THIS IS FINALLY PUT INTO BED, AND IS REAL, THAT THEY WILL BE REOPENING PLANTS AND REHIRING PEOPLE. SO YOU ARE TALKING TENS AND TENS OF THOUSANDS OF JOBS BEING CREATED, AND HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF CAPITAL INVESTMENT COMING. LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENED WITH WASHING MACHINES. LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENED WITH SOLAR PANELS. WE NEED TO BE EXPORTING PRODUCT, NOT JOBS.

FABER: SECRETARY ROSS, BACK TO, THOUGH, THE LARGER ISSUE, WHICH IS, IS THERE A COMING TRADE WAR WITH CHINA? A.) IS THERE ONE COMING? AND, B.) WHEN THE STATE-RUN NEWSPAPER OF THE GLOBAL TIMES WARNED, FOR EXAMPLE, NOT THAT LONG AGO, THAT BOEING ORDERS WOULD BE REPLACED BY AIRBUS, THAT U.S. AUTO AND iPHONE SALES IN CHINA WOULD SUFFER A SETBACK. THAT U.S. SOYBEAN, WHICH YOU JUST SPOKE ABOUT, AND MAIZE IMPORTS WILL BE HALTED. DO YOU BELIEVE THEM?

ROSS: WELL, HERE'S THE SITUATION THAT WE FACE. THE UNITED STATES EVER SINCE WORLD WAR II HAS MADE HUGE AMOUNTS OF UNILATERAL CONCESSIONS. IN THE EARLY DAYS AFTER WORLD WAR II, IT WAS PROBABLY GOOD PUBLIC POLICY TO REBUILD EUROPE AND JAPAN FROM THE RAVAGE – AND CHINA -- FROM THE RAVAGES OF THE WAR, BUT THE MISTAKE THEY MADE, THEY DIDN'T PUT A TIME LIMIT ON THE CONCESSIONS. SO AS TIME WENT ON, WE AGREED TO THINGS LIKE THE FOLLOWING -- THE TARIFF ON AUTOMOBILES COMING INTO THE U.S. IS 2.5%. TARIFF ON AUTOMOBILES GOING INTO THE EUROPEAN UNION, 10%. TARIFF ON AUTOMOBILES GOING INTO CHINA, 25%. THAT'S A DISEQUILIBRIUM. AND SO WHILE ALL THESE COUNTRIES TALK ABOUT FREE TRADE, THEY ACTUALLY ARE THE MOST PROTECTIONIST COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD. I WAS AT DAVOS ON A PANEL, WHICH YOU MIGHT HAVE SEEN. IT WAS TELEVISED. AND I ASKED THE OTHER PANELISTS WHO WERE THE DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION, THE HEAD OF CARGILL, A MAJOR AGRICULTURE EXPORTER, A HEAD OF STANDARD CHARTER BANK AND MANAGING EDITOR AT "FORTUNE" AND I SAID YOU'RE COMPLAINING ABOUT U.S. BEING PROTECTIONIST. IF WE AREN'T THE LEAST PROTECTIONIST MAJOR COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, PLEASE TELL ME WHO IS YOU KNOW WHAT? THEY HAD NO ANSWER. BECAUSE WE ARE THE LEAST PROTECTIONIST. SO WHAT'S REALLY BEEN GOING ON IS THE OTHER COUNTRIES HAVE BEEN PICKING AWAY AT US, DUMPING MATERIALS IN HERE. SUBSIDIZING THEIR INDUSTRIES AND WE HAVEN'T BEEN FIGHTING BACK. THE PRESIDENT PLEDGED DURING THE CAMPAIGN –

FABER: RIGHT.

ROSS: -- AND NOW HAS KEPT THE PROMISE. HE IS GOING TO FIGHT BACK. NOW, IN ANY WAR THERE MAY BE A FEW CASUALTIES AND THAT JUST COMES WITH THE NATURE OF THE BEAST.

FABER: ALL RIGHT SECRETARY ROSS, FINALLY, IT WAS A FEBRUARY REPORT FROM YOUR AGENCY, OF COURSE, UNDER WHICH YOU FOUND THE QUANTITIES AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF STEEL AND ALUMINUM IMPORTS THREATENED TO IMPAIR THE NATIONAL SECURITY, THE SO CALLED SECTION 232 ACTION, THAT PROMULGATED OR BROUGHT THIS ABOUT. WHY IS THIS A NATIONAL SECURITY CONCERN?

ROSS: WELL, NATIONAL SECURITY IS A DEFINED TERM IN THE 232. AND IT COVERS A LOT BROADER THINGS THAN JUST THE MILITARY. IT SPECIFICALLY SAYS THAT WE MUST ADDRESS THE OVERALL NEEDS OF THE ECONOMY, THE OVERALL AFFECT ON JOBS, THE OVERALL IMPACT ON CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE. AND WHILE IT'S TRUE THAT NOT A HUGE AMOUNT OF STEEL AND ALUMINUM RELATIVE TO THE TOTAL IS NEEDED DIRECTLY IN DEFENSE INDUSTRIES, HOWEVER, THERE'S CERTAINLY KINDS OF ALLOY THAT ARE USED, MADE PRINCIPALLY OF STEEL, BUT ALLOYS THAT ARE USED TO PROVIDE THE ARMORED PLATE FOR VEHICLES THAT WE USE IN WARFARE. WE ARE DOWN TO ONE PRODUCER OF THAT. ANY OTHER THAT WE NEED HAS TO COME FROM ABROAD. SIMILARLY, THE VERY HIGH QUALITY ALUMINUM ALLOYS THAT WE NEED FOR SATELLITES AND FOR AEROSPACE APPLICATIONS, WE HAVE ONLY ONE DOMESTIC SUPPLIER. THAT'S A VERY DANGEROUS THING. AND WHAT BRINGS IT ABOUT IS THAT YOU CAN'T DISCARD THE NEED OF THE STEEL COMPANY OR THE ALUMINUM COMPANY TO MAKE A PROFIT OVERALL. THERE ISN'T ENOUGH MILITARY BUSINESS ON ITS OWN TO MAKE THEM PROFITABLE, SO THEY MUST HAVE THESE OTHER BUSINESSES TO KEEP THE MILLS GOING, BECAUSE IT'S THE SAME MILL THAT MAKES THESE OTHER PRODUCTS THAT MAKES THE VERY DEFENSE SENSITIVE MATERIAL. SO IT'S AN OVERSIMPLIFICATION TO SAY, WELL, DEFENSE DIRECTLY IS ONLY A FEW PERCENT ALSO, WE HAVE HUGE INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS. OUR ROADS ARE CRUMBLING. OUR RAILROADS NEED HELP. OUR AIRPORTS ESPECIALLY NEED HELP. WE NEED STRONG INFRASTRUCTURE. THE GRID, ALL KINDS OF THINGS, IN ORDER TO HAVE A VIBRANT ECONOMY. AND IF YOU DON'T HAVE A VIBRANT ECONOMY, YOU DON'T HAVE NATIONAL SECURITY. GENERAL MATTIS HAS BEEN ON RECORD QUITE A LOT AS CONFIRMING YOU NEED -- ECONOMIC STRENGTH IS MILITARY STRENGTH, AND HE'S ABSOLUTELY RIGHT.

BRENNAN: SECRETARY ROSS, I'M SO GLAD YOU BROUGHT THAT UP AND CERTAINLY YOU HAVE A LOT OF INSIGHT ON AEROSPACE AND DEFENSIVE. I BELIEVE YOU'RE IN FLORIDA BECAUSE OF THE NOAA LAUNCH OF THE WEATHER SATELLITE THAT HAS BEEN TAKING PLACE THIS WEEK YOU. BROUGHT UP SECRETARY MATTIS, AND THE MILITARY AND DEFENSE NEEDS, WHERE ALUMINUM AND STEEL ARE CONCERNED. HE PUT OUT THAT MEMO LAST WEEK SAYING THAT THEY DID BELIEVE THAT TARIFFS WERE IMPORTANT IN TERMS OF TARGETING UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICES. THAT THIS IS A THREAT TO NATIONAL SECURITY. BUT HE ALSO HAD SAID IN THAT MEMO THAT, "THE DOD CONTINUES TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT THE NEGATIVE IMPACT ON OUR KEY ALLIES REGARDING THE RECOMMENDED OPTIONS IN THE REPORT." HE BASICALLY WAS CALLING FOR MORE TARGETED TARIFFS. AND WE HEARD SOMETHING SIMILAR FROM ALCOA YESTERDAY. THEY SAID, "PLEASE, DON'T PUT TARIFFS ON CANADA." WHY WOULD IT MAKE SENSE FOR THIS TO BE BLANKETED? WOULDN'T IT MAKE MORE SENSE TO BE TARGETED BASED ON WHAT YOU JUST SAID AND THE COMMENTS FROM MATTIS AND ALUMINUM PRODUCERS?

ROSS: WELL, MY REPORT SPEAKS FOR ITSELF. I PROPOSED SEVERAL ALTERNATIVES TO THE PRESIDENT, BUT THIS IS A PRESIDENTIAL DECISION. AND THE PRESIDENT DECIDED THAT FOR HIS PURPOSES, THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO DO THIS WAS A BROAD BLANKET TARIFF. I'M NOT GOING TO SECOND GUESS THE PRESIDENT. PEOPLE WHO TRIED TO SECOND GUESS HIM DURING THE CAMPAIGNS LOST THE PRIMARIES, AND THEN LOST THE GENERAL ELECTION. SO I'M NOT GOING TO SECOND GUESS THE PRESIDENT. HE KNEW WHAT THE ALTERNATIVES THAT I HAD PROPOSED WERE, AND THE IMPORTANT THING ABOUT THOSE ALTERNATIVES, THEY WERE ALL DESIGNED TO ACHIEVE THE SAME RESULT. NAMELY, GETTING STEEL PRODUCTION UP TO ABOUT 80% OF CAPACITY. BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT IT NEEDS TO BE VIABLE AS A TERM INDUSTRY. SAME FOR ALUMINUM. AND BOTH WERE OPERATING AT WELL BELOW THE CAPACITY UTILIZATION THAT'S NEEDED FOR LONG TERM LIABILITY. SO THE QUESTION THAT THE PRESIDENT ADDRESSED IS OF THE VARIOUS ALTERNATIVES TO ACHIEVE THE END RESULT, WHICH ONE DID HE THINK WOULD BE THE MOST EFFECTIVE AND HE CLEARLY DECIDED ON THE ONE HE ANNOUNCED.

QUINTANILLA: YOU MADE THAT POINT PRETTY CLEAR, MR. SECRETARY. AND YOUR POINT ABOUT PRICE INCREASES, ALTHOUGH MINIMAL IS A GOOD ONE. I WONDER THOUGH WHEN YOU LISTEN TO THE JOURNAL OP-ED PAGE TODAY, I MEAN, THE POINT IS THAT IT NOT JUST PUNISHES WORKERS OR ANTAGONIZES ALLIES, BUT THAT IT UNDOES SOME OF THE ADVANTAGES OF TAX REFORM THAT ADMINISTRATION WORKED SO HARD TO PASS. ARE YOU NOT WORRIED ABOUT THAT?

ROSS: NOT A BIT. THE JOURNAL HAS ALWAYS BEEN A VERY FREE TRADE ORIENTED NEWSPAPER. THEY'VE BEEN VERY COURTEOUS TO ME ABOUT PRINTING MY EDITORIALS AND SUCH AS THAT SO I DON'T WANT TO SAY THAT THEY'RE TOTALLY ONE SIDED. BUT THEIR POINT OF VIEW HAS BEEN A GLOBALIST POINT OF VIEW FOREVER. AND I THINK WE HAVE TO DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN WHAT'S GOOD FOR CORPORATE AMERICA, BECAUSE CORPORATE AMERICA IS THE MAIN AUDIENCE FOR THE JOURNAL, AND WHAT'S GOOD FOR MR. AND MRS. AMERICA. IT'S FINE FOR GENERAL MOTORS OR SOME OTHER COMPANY TO OPEN A FACTORY IN WOHNUNG, CHINA INSTEAD OF IN DETROIT. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE AMERICAN WORKER WHO'S LEFT BEHIND? I THINK WE SHOULD BE FOCUSING ON THE NEEDS OF THE AMERICAN WORKER. MIDDLE CLASS AMERICA HAS BEEN THE VICTIM OF ALL THESE TRADE PRACTICES GOING BACK FOR ALL THESE YEARS. INCOME TO MIDDLE AMERICANS HASN'T GONE ANYWHERE. AND A BIG PORTION FOR THE REASON, NOT ALL OF IT, BUT A BIG PART OF THE REASON IS THESE UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICED. SO I AGREE WITH THE JOURNAL THAT IN A TRULY FAIR WORLD YOU'D HAVE FREE TRADE BUT IT DOESN'T EXIST. IT'S ONLY DEGREES OF UNFAIRNESS OF TRADE AND WE'RE TRYING TO LEVEL THAT PLAYING FIELD.

FABER: MR. SECRETARY, AS ALWAYS, WE APPRECIATE YOUR WILLINGNESS TO TAKE SOME TIME WITH US. IF YOU DO CHOOSE TO HAVE THAT CAMPBELLS SOUP, REMEMBER, OF COURSE, THERE IS A LOT OF SODIUM IN THERE AND A LOT OF SUGAR IN THE COKE AS WELL. JUST, YOU KNOW, THERE YOU GO.

ROSS: WELL – OKAY.

FABER: VERY NICE. ALL RIGHT. WILBUR ROSS, COMMERCE SECRETARY JOINING US.

For more information contact:

Jennifer Dauble
CNBC
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m: 201.615.2787
e: jennifer.dauble@nbcuni.com

Emma Martin
CNBC
t: 201.735.4713
m: 551.275.5221
e: emma.martin@nbcuni.com

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