A top White House official Sunday suggested President Donald Trump would decline to exempt allies of the United States from tariffs he's pledged to impose on steel and aluminum imports to protect domestic industries.
The scope of Trump's proposed tariffs has been one of the major questions looming over the plan since it was first announced this week.
Pressed on "Fox News Sunday" about whether the president would exempt Canada or the European Union from the tariffs, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said: "That's not [Trump's] decision."
"As soon as he starts exempting countries, he has to raise the tariff on everybody else," Navarro said in the combative interview. "As soon as he exempts one country, his phone starts ringing from the heads of state of other countries."
European officials have pledged retaliation for Trump's tariffs proposal, which is expected to be outlined in greater detail next week.
Asked about potential exemptions for U.S. allies on ABC's "This Week," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Trump has had conversations with a number of world leaders but that "as far as I know he's talking about a fairly broad brush."
"I have not heard him describe particular exemptions just yet," Ross said.
Ross confirmed that a formal announcement was days away.
"I don't know exactly what day because the lawyers are working away, but some time this week," he said.
Republicans and business groups have criticized the plan.
Business Roundtable President and CEO Joshua Bolten, the chief of staff for former President George W. Bush, said on "Fox News Sunday" that the proposal was a "huge mistake" that would cause "huge damage across broad sectors of the economy."
Bolten said it would not address the "real problem" with Chinese steel exports.