The American Soybean Association call the tariffs ‘disastrous’
By Diego Flammini
American farmers are upset with the President’s latest trade tactic and are worried they’ll suffer for his actions.
President Trump officially signed off on 25 per cent tariffs on steel imports and 10 per cent tariffs on aluminum imports yesterday. The tariffs will come into effect in the next two weeks.
With these tariffs in place, the U.S. ag industry is concerned that retaliatory measures from other countries will hurt them the most.
President Trump used the slogan “America first” during his presidential campaign. His recent actions, however, could leave the U.S. on the outside looking in on trade relationships, according to John Heisdorffer, president of the American Soybean Association.
“These tariffs are a disastrous course of action from the White House,” he said in a statement yesterday. “We have heard directly from the Chinese that U.S. soybeans are prime targets for retaliation. The idea that we’re the only game in town and these partners have no choice but to purchase from the U.S. is flatly wrong.
“Our competition in Brazil and Argentina is eager to capitalize on whatever openings these tariffs create for them in markets like China and elsewhere.”
Producers are also concerned the tariffs could impact their input costs.
Between machinery, grain bins, and trucks, both aluminum and steel are prevalent on many farms.
If the costs of those items increase, the implications could be felt on and off the farm.
“Raising the prices of all those inputs could trim our thin margins,” David Milligan and Doug Goyings, farmers from Ohio and Michigan and members of the National Association of Wheat Growers, wrote on The Hill yesterday. “Then we have less to spend on all the great made-in-Michigan and made-in-Ohio products that are several steps removed from the blast furnace or smelter.”
Members of the Republican party are also concerned about the implications of the President’s tariffs on local farmers.
Senator Steve Daines from Montana is “concerned that tariffs will increase costs on Montana working families, farmers and ranchers,” he said in a statement yesterday.
“These tariffs are a bad idea, because they could lead to Montana ag products being shut out of foreign markets,” Republican Representative Greg Gianforte told Montana Public Radio yesterday.
Mexico and Canada are the only two countries exempt from the tariffs. But that could change depending on how NAFTA negotiations pan out, Trump indicated, according to the Canadian Press.