President Donald Trump has signed proclamations imposing
tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum.
Trump says a 25 percent tariff will be added to steel and a 10 percent tariff will apply to aluminum; he was surrounded by steel and aluminum workers as he explained his decision at a White House ceremony. He signed separate proclamations ordering
Trump says the levies will take effect in about 15 days. He says Canada and Mexico could be exempted based on the outcome of talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Trump invited the workers to speak. Several spoke of how excessive “dumping” of steel and aluminum imports had negatively affected their jobs and families.
However here in Nebraska, today’s order was not well recieved by Congressman Adrian Smith and Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson.
Congressman Adrian Smith released the following statement today:
“I understand President Trump’s desire to put an end to unfair trade practices, but the best way to accomplish this goal is through targeted policies rather than blanket tariffs,” Smith said. “While I appreciate the President listening to our case for exempting Canada and Mexico, these tariffs should be further narrowed in order to reduce unintended consequences.”
“Due to the success of our ag producers, this industry is often the first to be targeted with retaliatory measures by other countries. I have been steadfast in advocating against actions which could harm the ag economy, and I remain deeply concerned about these tariffs in their current form.”
“We know tariffs translate to higher costs for consumers. At a time when we are experiencing great economic benefits from tax reform, we should focus on opening more markets rather than enacting barriers.”
Smith serves on the Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over trade policy.
Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson released this statement today as well:
“Today’s irresponsible action by President Trump to place tariffs on imported steel and aluminum puts Nebraska farmers, ranchers, and consumers on the front line of a possible global trade war. The casualties of this conflict will unfortunately be the pocketbooks of all Americans.”
“Even with the exemption of Canada and Mexico, Nebraska risks more than $3.72 billion dollars in agricultural exports, or 58 percent of Nebraska’s total export market.”
“While we anticipate retaliatory measures to be both strategic and overtly political, markets that Nebraska farmers and ranchers have worked hard to build and maintain should not be victims of President Trumps misguided attempts to correct our nation’s trade imbalance.”
“This is not just about farmers and ranchers. U.S. consumers also stand to pay the ultimate price in both lost jobs and higher priced goods that rely on a steady supply of imported steel and aluminum.”
“With more than 30 percent of U.S. gross farm income depending on agricultural exports, and with so many farmers and ranchers riding the line between profitability and economic calamity, today’s action only serves to destabilize the agricultural economy further.”