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WASHINGTON/MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Republican lawmakers stepped up calls on Tuesday for President Donald Trump to pull back from proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell added to an avalanche of criticism. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks after the Senate Republican weekly policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 6, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua RobertsCritics worry that the measures risk igniting a trade war and damaging the U.S. economy. But the Republican president showed no sign of backing down, reaffirming his belief the United States could win any trade war since it was running such a large trade deficit with so many countries. “When we’re behind on every single country, trade wars aren’t so bad,” he told reporters at the White House at a news conference on Tuesday with the Swedish prime minister. Another prominent Republican critic of the proposal, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, returned to the attack on Tuesday, saying the proposed duties of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum were too broad. Although the measure is designed to hit China, its main impact will be on U.S. allies like Canada. Ryan, whose home state of Wisconsin could be hit by proposed counter-tariffs from the European Union, has consistently opposed the tariffs and called for “more surgical and more targeted measures.” The White House has said the measures will protect industries and jobs from unfair competition and that across-the- board tariffs are needed because countries like China use third countries for shipping steel to the United States, disguising its origin. Opponents charge that the tariffs could destroy more jobs than they create, risk alienating U.S. allies and that American consumers will end up paying more for a range of products from cans of beer to cars. “There is a lot of concern among Republican senators that this could sort of metastasize into sort of a larger trade war, and many of our members are discussing with the administration just how broad, how sweeping this might be,” McConnell said in his first comments on the issue. Financial markets have rallied off their lows on expectations the measures may be watered down in the face of an intense lobbying effort from leading Republicans. On Tuesday, Representative Mark Meadows, the head of the Freedom Caucus, a staunchly conservative Republican grouping in Congress, raised concerns about the impact of the tariffs on U.S. manufacturing and agriculture. Agriculture is a potential target for retaliatory tariffs from China if Trump pushes ahead. Meadows, who spoke to reporters after a closed-door meeting with House Republicans, said: “Most of the conversation I heard was not in support of that particular decision.” Trump was presented with three options by the Commerce Department. The broad tariffs that he announced last week were one. He also had the option of a much higher duty of 53 percent on steel imports on a narrower group of 12 countries that did not include Canada, Mexico and the European Union,

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