President Trump said on Monday he was able to cut $600 million from the latest U.S. contract for the F-35 fighter and reiterated his pledge to use American-made steel for the Keystone pipeline. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) President Donald Trump said on Monday his administration had been able to cut $600 million from the latest U.S. contract for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Lockheed Martin aircraft that he has sharply criticized for its cost overruns. Trump, speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, said he appreciated Lockheed Martin Corp for being so responsive to his concerns about the high cost of the high tech warplane and added that the company was doing a great job on the program. He also reiterated his pledge to require new pipelines for the Keystone XL project to use American-made steel, a gesture to workers in the hard-hit industry who helped propel him to power. But U.S. steelmakers will receive negligible benefit from the multi-billion dollar Keystone XL project, one of the two projects Trump ordered to proceed, because they have limited ability to meet the stringent materials requirements for the TransCanada line. Economists said Trump's order has many loopholes to enforcement and could violate international trade law. TransCanada tried for more than five years to build the 1,179-mile (1,897 km) pipeline, until then-President Barack Obama rejected it in 2015. Trump's directive on using U.S.-made steel is likely also inconsistent with long-standing World Trade Organization rules that require imported products to be given the same treatment as domestically produced goods. The directive could well become the target of a challenge under WTO rules. Trump's order also runs counter to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a pact that he said he wants to renegotiate but one that nevertheless remains in effect.