With the turning of the calendar from May to June came the enactment of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports that are hitting nations with which we’ve had long-standing trade relationships. The European Union launched a dispute against the United States with the World Trade Organization today in response to the President’s steel and aluminum tariffs. What are people saying? Here’s a roundup of some related quotes.
In a tweet sent at 8:18 am on June 1, President Donald Trump wrote, “Canada has treated our Agricultural business and Farmers very poorly for a very long period of time. Highly restrictive on Trade! They must open their markets and take down their trade barriers! They report a really high surplus on trade with us. Do Timber & Lumber in U.S.?”
A statement from U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Tom Sleight:
“The U.S. Grains Council is deeply concerned about new tariffs set to be implemented (June 1) on steel and aluminum from Mexico, Canada, and the European Union, three key markets for U.S. grain and related products.
"Based on information we have heard from our customers and past experience, we have every reason to believe U.S. agriculture, including the products we represent, will be among the first hit by countermeasures from our trading partners.
"These countries are among our closest neighbors and friends. We have spent years building markets in these countries based on a mutual belief that increasing trade benefits all parties.
"We had strong hopes this situation would be averted permanently, but it now appears we need to prepare for retaliation and its direct impact U.S. farmers. Our global staff is doing this to the best of their abilities as we continue to follow new developments."
In a tweet sent by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at 1 pm on May 31, he said, “Canada will also challenge these illegal & counterproductive measures under NAFTA Chapter 20 and at the WTO. It is simply ridiculous to view any trade with Canada as a national security threat to the US and we will continue to stand up for Canadian workers & Canadian businesses.”
“This action puts American workers and families at risk, whose jobs depend on fairly traded products from these important trading partners. And it hurts our efforts to create good-paying U.S. jobs by selling more ‘Made in America’ products to customers in these countries," said House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas).
The Aluminum Association, which represents much of the aluminum companies in the U.S., also said that it was “disappointed” by the announcement. “Today’s action does little to address the China challenge while potentially alienating allies and disrupting supply chains that more than 97 percent of U.S. aluminum industry jobs rely upon,“ said Heidi Brock, the group‘s president, and CEO.
Dan DiMicco, a former trade to adviser to Trump and also a long-serving CEO of U.S. steelmaker Nucor, said China has always found ways to circumvent previous restrictions by sending products via Canada and Mexico, as well as Vietnam and South Korea, where they are slightly modified or relabeled before being sent to the U.S. “If the whole world had dealt with this problem originally as we talked about for the better part of a decade now, we wouldn’t be where we’re at,” he said. “But we are where we’re at because nothing’s been done and it’s time to get it done.”
"It is worth remembering that a tariff is nothing more than a tax, and it is not paid by the exporting country— it is paid by the American people," wrote Tom Donohue, president, and CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce, in a memo to the organization’s Board of Directors.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) said it was "deeply discouraged" by the new tariffs on Mexico, Canada and the European Union that were announced Thursday, saying that the U.S. is moving in "the wrong direction." “The implementation of new tariffs will disrupt the U.S. oil and natural gas industry’s complex supply chain, compromising ongoing and future U.S. energy projects, which could weaken our national security," said API President and CEO Jack Gerard in a statement.