WASHINGTON – As President Donald Trump imposes tariffs — and faces retaliation from China — Gov. Rick Scott is taking a safe approach on the subject.

"I think it is important that we have free trade, but it has to be fair, whatever this country produces, whether agriculture or another product, if we are trying to sell there, we should have the same opportunity as they have the right to sell here," Scott told the Tampa Bay Times after an event Monday in Tampa.

"And so I've talked to the U.S. trade representative, Bob Lighthizer and I've always tried to make sure that Florida is treated well and we have the opportunity to grow. We have 15 seaports in our state, and this year we have an investment of $1.4 billion in our seaports. I think we have four of the fastest growing seaports, so trade is very important to us but it has to has to be fair."

So Scott isn't necessarily agreeing or disagreeing with his ally Trump's moves on tariffs.

As he's poised to enter the race for U.S. Senate, he'll face more pressure to respond more clearly to policies from Washington.

— Times staff writer Howard Altman contributed to this report.