Politics

Trump ultimately wants a world with no trade tariffs: White House advisor

Key Points
  • White House legislative director Marc Short says President Trump wants trade to be on a "level playing field."
  • "The tariffs are part of an effort to get us to hopefully one day where we have true free and fair trade," says Short.
  • Monday marks 500 days since Trump was inaugurated.
VIDEO1:0801:08
White House advisor: Trump wants level playing field for US workers

White House legislative director Marc Short told CNBC that President Donald Trump wants trade to be on a "level playing field."

"The tariffs are part of an effort to get us to hopefully one day where we have true free and fair trade, in which there are no tariffs," Short said on "Squawk Box" on Monday, Trump's 500th day in office.

"That is the ultimate goal," Short continued. "But until we can get that level playing field, the president's going to do what he wants to do to make sure that the manufacturing jobs in America are protected."

Trump announced in March import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent aluminum to deal with what he deemed unfair trading practices. He had initially provided relief to certain allies, including Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

Last week, the administration let those waivers lapse. "The steel and aluminum tariffs that have been implemented, I think, are pretty tactical and pretty targeted," Short said.

Still, the move upset many in the international community.

On Monday, Carlos Gutierrez, former Commerce secretary during George W. Bush's presidency, told CNBC that trade negotiations can't be forced.

"I don't think you can put a gun to someone's head and then you say, 'Let's negotiate,'" Gutierrez said on "Squawk Box" in a later interview. "We've picked a fight with our friends and our allies."

While the stock market has fluctuated due to fears of possible trade wars, Short said Trump's actions should not come as a shock. "I'm a little bit surprised that often in the media there is this surprise about the president's trade agenda," he said. "This is what he campaigned on. It's what the American people elected him [on.]"

Short said the global marketplace is "not fair at the current moment" for American companies trying to sell products overseas.

WATCH: US picks a trade fight with everyone: Gutierrez

VIDEO3:3903:39
US has managed to pick a trade fight with everyone, says former Commerce secretary

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