Tariff's Impacts on Americans Creates Tough Talk Aimed at Ending Impasse

Feb 8, 2019  | 3 min  | Ep4425

The word “agriculture” made its way into this week’s State of the Union. President Trump called on Congress to ratify the 2018 U.S., Mexico and Canada Trade Agreement. However, the USMCA was not the only trade target for the evening.

Paul Yeager has the details.

President Trump delivered his annual address to Congress laying out agenda pieces, circling back to an approaching March 1 deadline for making a deal to avoid more tariffs being implemented on China.

President Donald Trump: “But it must include real structural change to end unfair trade practices, reduce our chronic trade deficit, and protect American jobs.”

Canada, Mexico and the United States restructured the decades-old North American Free Trade Agreement in 2018. However, Congress still needs to ratify the US Mexico Canada Agreement. 

Sen. Tom Carper D – Delaware: “We have to be tough with the Chinese. If not, we’re not going to get anywhere. But we also have to be smart and not intentionally hurt our own farmers.”

Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, a non-partisan campaign supported by over 150 trade associations from agriculture to manufacturing, held an event this week in Washington, D.C. aimed at getting the attention of the Trump Administration.

The coalition released an economic analysis of scenarios in the event there is no resolution to the trade war by March 1. Tariffs on steel and aluminum will rise to 25 percent and the group believes the move will have a major impact on American interests in the short and long term.

If all Chinese imports are tariffed at the higher rate, the economic study projects over the next one to three years, 2.2 million jobs would be lost, a reduction in GDP by more than 1 percent would occur and the average American family could pay an additional $2,300 for goods and services.

The U.S. steel industry was one of the first impacted by tariffs and subsequent retaliation. Both Republican and Democratic senators joined in the charge for change.

Sen. Pat Toomey, R – PA: “In my view shouldn’t be so easy for one individual, be it a member of Congress of the president of the United States, to impose tariffs that can be so economically disruptive and so problematic and do it unilaterally.”  

Agriculture was brought into the trade war as U.S. commodity exports to China diminished quickly in 2018.

Sen. Tom Carper, D – Delaware: “We’re seeing something in my state especially, soybean farmers and chicken farmers don’t like. And they are collateral damage. It’s not fair. I was raised to treat other people the way we want to be treated. We should not be treating our farmers this way. “

The Senators in attendance at the Capitol Hill press event said President Obama confronted the Chinese over intellectual property thefts, like other administrations have done, but not like the Trump strategy.  

Sen. Ron Johnson, R - Wisconsin: “America has been very magnanimous in our trading relationship with the world. With our generosity, we’ve been taken advantage of and I think this administration has recognized that, prior ones have well. But this administration’s trying and reset that global trading regime and certainly address China’s unconscionable and unacceptable theft of all of our intellectual property both industrial and military secrets.”

Lower level negotiations are expected to continue, however, no face-to-face meetings between the two presidents have been scheduled by the March 1 deadline.

For Market to Market, I’m Paul Yeager.

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