18 agriculture groups representing the majority of production agriculture sent a letter to the Trump administration recommending it avoid placing restrictions on steel and aluminum imports. The groups are worried that such a move would negatively impact U.S. food and agriculture exports.
The groups said in the letter that, “the aftermath of those restrictions could be disastrous for the global trading system and U.S. agriculture in particular.” The letter points out that many of those countries exporting steel and aluminum are also the same countries that import a large amount of U.S. agricultural goods. The letter stresses that “potential retaliation from those trading partners is very real.”
The 1994 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade says national security can be a reason to restrict trade but is rarely done. The organizations point out that no other country can dictate what another’s national security needs are. “Now, every country with a sensitive industry would know it could follow the example of America and find a national security reason to circumvent trade agreements, no matter how flimsy the reason,” they said. The farm groups urged the administration to “avoid igniting a trade war” through the imposition of restrictions on steel and aluminum imports.