White House to showcase US products as trade battles loom

Trump will visit exhibit designed to demonstrate “commitment to ensuring more products are made in America”

An F-35 Lightning II fighter jet makes a test flight over Fort Worth, Texas, U.S., on Sept. 5, 2008. Israel wants to buy as many as 75 Lockheed Martin Corp. F-35 Lightning II fighter jets from the U.S. for as much as $15.2 billion, the Pentagon agency responsible for foreign sales said today. Source: Lockheed Martin/US Air Force via Bloomberg News
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US President Donald Trump will showcase American-made products ranging from beef jerky and cowboy boots to the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jet on Monday, as his administration wages trade battles on a series of fronts.

A White House spokeswoman said on Sunday that Trump would make remarks at the exhibit designed to demonstrate the administration’s “commitment to ensuring more products are made in America.” Vice President Mike Pence, six cabinet secretaries and some dozen other senior officials will also attend.

The US Commerce Department held a hearing on Thursday into its investigation over whether imported vehicles and parts pose a national security risk. All major automakers, including Ford Motor Co, which will have an F-150 pickup truck on display at the White House exhibit, oppose imposing vehicle and parts tariffs of up to 25 per cent.

Mr Trump told CNBC on Friday he was ready to impose tariffs on all $500 billion (Dh1800bn) of imported goods from China, threatening to escalate a clash over trade policy that has unnerved financial markets. The G20 meeting in Buenos Aires ended with calls for more dialogue on the rising tensions.

Washington has already imposed 25 per cent duties on $34 billion of Chinese imports and threatened 10 per cent tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods. China has retaliated on $34 billion worth of US goods.

Citing national security, Washington imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico on June 1.

On Wednesday, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker will meet with Mr Trump. EU officials have dampened expectations about what Juncker can achieve.

The finance ministers for Mexico and Canada said on Sunday they were optimistic about talks over their trilateral North American Free Trade Agreement with the US on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina.

Other products to be displayed at the White House on Monday include Wiffle balls and bats from Connecticut, Viking Range stoves from Mississippi and Moon Pies sweets from Tennessee.

The White House will also show off cookie-cutters from Vermont, pepperoni rolls from West Virginia, jeans from Oklahoma, gun safes from Utah, snowboards from Colorado and livestock feed from Iowa.

Lockheed Martin, which will display a model of the F-35 on the White House lawn, will also showcase a model of the Orion Spacecraft, "the cornerstone of Nasa's future missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond," the company said.