Tag Archives: President Trump

OMAHA (DTN) — U.S. rice, cranberries, sweet corn, orange juice, kidney beans, peanut butter, tobacco and whiskey are among the agricultural products listed by the European Union to face retaliatory tariffs in Europe due to the Trump administration’s push for tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

The European Commission released the full list of products on Friday, which includes a long list of various metal products, as well as consumer items ranging from t-shirts and jeans to motorcycles, home appliances and power boats. EU officials released the list as part of a 10-day comment period for affected people to make their case to the EU Commission about why a particular product should be included or exempt from the tariffs.

The EU exports about $6 billion in steel to the U.S., as well as about $1.2 billion in aluminum. President Donald Trump, arguing steel and aluminum imports are a threat to national security, announced last week his administration would impose a 25% tariff on most steel imports and a 10% tariff on most aluminum imports. Canada and Mexico are exempted from these tariffs, for now.

The overall impact dollar-wise is small in the grand scheme of U.S. agricultural exports forecast at $139.5 billion, but a few products will be hit harder than others.

The executive director of the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers told Bloomberg News earlier this week that the industry exports about 95 million pounds of cranberries to the EU, or about 12% of U.S. production.

The EU is not a major buyer of U.S. rice compared to other countries, but does account for about $42 million in sales, according to USA Rice. For the 2017-18 marketing year, which ends July 31, the U.S. has seen commitments for 16,411 metric tons of rice sold to the EU, according to USDA export data.

The U.S. is among the top exporters of oranges to the EU, but the U.S. is the third-largest foreign supplier of orange juice at 15,000 metric tons for the 2016-17 marketing year. Still, the volume pales in comparison to how much the EU imports orange juice from Brazil (591,000 mt) and Mexico (34,370 mt).

Cranberries are a relatively small crop, but Wisconsin is the largest state for cranberries, producing about 62% of the crop in 2017, according to NASS. Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington are the other major cranberry-producing states.

A coalition of agribusiness groups, Americans for Farmers and Families, expressed concern about the EU list, stating that the potential for retaliatory tariffs “is not a zero-sum game.”

Joshua Baca, a spokesman for the coalition, said, “Rural America will feel the impact of retaliatory tariffs quicker than any other industry. Americans for Farmers and Families wants to ensure that action taken on trade policy protects our farmers, the food and agriculture industries, and does not compromise negotiations for a modernized North American Free Trade Agreement.”

Baca called on the Trump administration to reconsider the tariffs. (https://goo.gl/…)

A report on the job impacts of the tariffs was also released earlier this week. Agriculture would lose nearly as many jobs as an industry as the steel and aluminum industries would gain from President Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs.

The report by the Washington, D.C.-based firm Trade Partnership Worldwide LLC stated agriculture would lose 24,054 jobs while the food-processing industry would lose another 6,000 jobs. The tariffs could increase employment in the steel and aluminum industries by 26,346 workers, the report stated.

The report states 18 jobs would be lost for every job gained and would cost as many as 495,136 jobs in the process. California, Texas, New York and Florida would see the most jobs lost, losing a combined 158,700 jobs.(https://goo.gl/…)

LINCOLN – Governor Pete Ricketts sent a letter to President Donald J. Trump on Thursday thanking him for his support of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  The letter also encourages President Trump to reject any proposal which would weaken the RFS, that has been pivotal to growing Nebraska agriculture.

“[E]conomic conditions today ‘are testing the resilience of the American farmer,’” reads the letter.  “These challenges would only be exacerbated by demand-destroying alterations to the RFS – a policy which has been a lifeline for farmers, driving job growth and attracting billions of dollars of investment to rural areas where opportunities are needed most.”

Governor Ricketts has previously testified in support of the RFS in front of the EPA, and he has served as chairman of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition.

Click here to read the full letter to President Trump.

The White House has asked China to come up with a plan that would cut $100 billion off the trade deficit it currently has with the U.S.

An administration official says that would be a reduction of more than 25 percent from last year’s trade gap with China. Bloomberg says the U.S. trade shortfall in goods traded with China surged another eight percent during the first year of the Trump presidency. Commerce Department data released last month showed the deficit at a record $375 billion.

A tweet from President Trump on Wednesday appeared to say China had been asked to reduce the trade deficit by $1 billion instead of the $100 billion reduction which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. Trump has repeatedly expressed dismay over the rising trade deficit with China, reinforcing that in a recent conversation with the President of China.

A White House official was asked about the difference between the Wall Street Journal report and what the president tweeted recently. The official confirmed that the Trump tweet was a “typo,” and he meant $100 billion.

LINCOLN, NEB. – “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.”


By: Jay Rempe, senior economist


Nebraska Risks from Retaliation on U.S. Tariffs on Steel & Aluminum


Top 5 Steel Suppliers to U.S.                      Top 5 Aluminum Suppliers to U.S.

Canada                                                           Canada

Brazil                                                               Russia

South Korea                                                    United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Mexico                                                            China

Turkey                                                             Bahrain

Total value of exports of agricultural goods in 2016 from Nebraska $6.4 billion (USDA ERS)

Top 6 markets for Nebraska agricultural exports (2016, USDA ERS):

Mexico            $1.46 billion                 23%

Canada           $1.22 billion                 19%

Japan              $695 million                 11%

EU                   $695 million                 11%

China               $471 million                 7%

  1. Korea          $413 million                 6%

Exports to Mexico, Canada, and China are most at risk from trade war over steel and aluminum imports, but Japan is also in the top 10 countries exporting steel to the U.S.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) released the following statement in response to the president’s announcement on steel and aluminum tariffs:

 “Kansas is an export state, and our ability to make a living is directly tied to our ability to sell the products we grow and manufacture to people around the world. These tariffs will harm auto, aerospace and other manufacturers in Kansas by risking retaliation against our exports, including food and agricultural products. I would strongly urge the president to reconsider the impact these tariffs will have on future ag exports, the five million manufacturing and related jobs that use steel or aluminum in addition to the added costs to consumers and American manufacturers who will pay higher prices for inputs, goods and services.

 “I am pleased Canada and Mexico are exempt from the tariffs announced today. However, when I met with ambassadors to Canada and Mexico this week I reiterated my concern that holding the threat of tariffs over the heads of our North American allies will only escalate trade tensions at time when we ought to be focused on reaching an agreement on a modernized NAFTA – the outcome of which couldn’t be more important to Kansas.”

 Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement today after President Donald Trump announced his decision to impose new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

 “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.


U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, released the following statement on President Trump’s announcement of a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum:

“This proposal is not a tariff on steel and aluminum imports; it is a tax on consumers,” said Roberts. “As we have seen in past cases of increased tariffs, higher manufacturing costs will inevitably be passed down the supply chain, forcing consumers to bear these costs. While I agree action should be taken to address overcapacity of steel and aluminum, using Section 232 as a tool to impose global tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum would have detrimental consequences to the U.S. economy. The proposed tariffs would nullify the positive gains created by the recent tax reform package passed by Congress.”

Roberts, who is also Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, expressed concern last week over the president’s initial comments on these tariffs and the damaging effects they could have on agriculture saying, “Like we have seen in the past, American agriculture often pays the price. We need a trade policy that is stable and beneficial to all industries.”


U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, an outspoken critic of protectionism and trade wars, issued the following statement regarding today’s tariffs.
“We’re on the verge of a painful and stupid trade war, and that’s bad. This isn’t just bad for farmers and ranchers in Nebraska who need to buy a new tractor, it’s also bad for the moms and dads who will lose their manufacturing jobs because fewer people can buy a more expensive product. Temporary exceptions for Canada and Mexico are encouraging but bad policy is still bad policy, and these constant NAFTA threats are nuts.”

OMAHA (DTN) — While 30 members of the United Steelworkers union and refinery representatives are in Washington to push for changes in the Renewable Fuel Standard, the managers of 150 ethanol plants across the country are pleading with President Donald Trump to leave the RFS alone.

The battle continues to rage as rumors circulate about yet another meeting at the White House possibly this week to continue talks on a potential RFS compromise. It would be the third such meeting in two weeks.

On Wednesday, ethanol plant managers urged President Trump in a letter not to cap the price of renewable identification numbers, or RINs, as doing so would lead to lost production and lost jobs in ethanol. Refiners have been calling on reform to save jobs in their industry.

Refiners, steelworkers and others are making their case with members of Congress this week to cap RIN prices.

As the back and forth continues, yet another academic study this week found that capping RINs and allowing E15 sales year-round would be a net loss for the ethanol and corn industries.

In their letter to Trump, the ethanol plant managers pushed solely for expanding E15 sales as a solution for both sides. “Refiners of all sizes are posting surging profits under the RFS — thanks, in part, to the extraordinary generosity of this administration’s tax reforms,” the managers said.

“A true win-win proposal would lift summertime restrictions on the sales of 15% ethanol blends. This minor change would support growth on all sides, generate a new supply of RINs and ease pressure on refiners. But this proposal holds no value if it becomes tied to destructive RIN caps that eliminate market access for biofuels.”

The plant managers said the administration does not have to choose between jobs in refining and jobs in ethanol, as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has suggested.

“We’ve seen Texas Sen. Ted Cruz attempt to confuse stakeholders about the RFS, claiming that his attack on renewable identification numbers is not an attack on our jobs. Nothing could be further from the truth,” the plant managers said.

“RINs are simply a flexible and efficient system — designed with help from refiners — for tracking our product, as each gallon of biofuel makes its way to consumers. There is no way to cut, cap or eliminate RINs without cutting, capping or eliminating gallons of homegrown fuel. These gimmicks would eliminate market access for higher ethanol blends, and they are deal-killers for rural America.”

The plant managers said the ethanol industry consists of the same people the president defends.

“The men and women who make up the biofuel supply chain embody values that this administration has championed from day one — middle-class prosperity, U.S. independence, and world-class innovation,” they said.

“In fact, the department of energy reports that nearly one in five employees in our industry are military veterans, a larger share than any other energy sector. These aren’t just the workers at our plants. They are the hard-working farmers who grow the grains and cellulosic feedstocks for U.S. ethanol. They are the construction trades men and women who build biorefineries in areas of the country left behind by other manufacturing sectors. They are seafarers and truckers who ship farm crops by land and barge. And they are the manufacturing workers who create equipment and agricultural implements to harvest, transport, process and distribute America’s vast abundance of renewable energy.”


United Steelworkers union members are meeting with senators and representatives this week, making the case the RIN system threatens “thousands of family supporting, community-sustaining jobs,” USW said in a news release.

USW National Oil Bargaining Chairman Kim Nibarger said in a statement that refiners are “forced to purchase RINs at artificially inflated prices because they lack the size and infrastructure to blend ethanol into their gasoline.”

“Although the multi-billion-dollar ethanol industry and its powerful lobbyists are determined to prove otherwise,” he said, “our laws are not intended to guarantee profits for RIN traders.”

Employees from the now-bankrupt Philadelphia Energy Solutions, as well as from Monroe Energy refineries near Philadelphia, are in Washington this week, along with refinery workers from other companies.

In addition, the Fueling American Jobs Coalition, which consists of union workers, mom-and-pop gas station owners, small retailers and independent American oil refiners, announced it is airing a television ad titled, “Make the Deal,” on Fox News Wednesday, and will be placing an ad in the Washington Post.

This week, the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development at Iowa State University also released a policy brief, http://bit.ly/…, looking at the potential RFS changes. CARD said the proposed changes would be harmful to both corn and ethanol.

A possible compromise emerged last week during a meeting at the White House with officials and lawmakers representing both sides of the RFS debate. That included allowing year-round E15 sales along with a cap on D6 ethanol RIN prices between 10 cents and 20 cents.

CARD said year-round E15 sales would encourage retailers to sell the fuel, but capping the D6 RIN prices would reduce consumption of E15 and E85. In addition, the study said the effective corn ethanol mandate would fall from 15 billion gallons to about 14.3 billion gallons in 2018.

“Unless increased ethanol exports compensate for the reduced mandate, corn prices would decrease under the proposal’s D6 RIN price cap,” CARD said.

President Donald Trump told Canada he wants a fair North American Free Trade Agreement. Speaking over the phone earlier this week to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump said he supported an agreement that is “fair to all three countries,” adding that the current deal leaves the U.S. with a trade deficit, according to Politico.

The conversation came shortly after the U.S. president attacked Canada and Mexico, two of the country’s top international trading partners. Canada says Trudeau also highlighted his concerns over Trump’s proposed aluminum and steel tariffs. Taking to Twitter earlier this week, Trump said the tariffs would “come off” if a new and fair NAFTA agreement is signed, adding that Canada must also “treat our farmers much better.”

The NAFTA negotiations have a deadline of March 31st, before the Mexican presidential election in July and the U.S. midterm elections in November, but the talks can and will continue past that date.