Steel Tariffs Impact on Agriculture Still Up in the Air


There is a lot of uncertainty across the board when it comes to the impacts of President Trump’s proposed aluminum and steel tariffs. Farmers and ranchers are asking the question, “will this impact me?”

At this point, it is all up in the air with the tariffs not in place. Many in Washington D.C. believe the tariffs are a negotiating tool for the U.S. in the North American Free Trade Agreement talks. Others say it’s a way for the U.S. to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). It’s still unclear what the President's motives are with the tariffs in regards to its impact on agriculture. 

One thing that is known is the importance of trade for American farmers and ranchers. For year’s state and national ag. groups have worked to establish trade networks for products produced in Northern Ag Network Country and across the nation.

In Montana, 80{ff5548eb8b7551781742a29b9864cd1703b3791f37ac9790ae42b0c6a6bb7d63} of wheat produced is exported. The U.S. Wheat Associates fear a trade war will impact U.S. farmers saying,  “we have repeatedly warned that the risks of retaliation and the precedent set by such a policy have serious potential consequences for agriculture. It is dismaying that the voices of farmers and many other industries were ignored in favor of an industry that is already among the most protected in the country.”

Export markets for beef producers are also vital. Kent Bacus, NCBA Director of International Trade and Market Access says,  “exports and open access to foreign consumers are vital to American cattle producers. Ninety-six percent of the world’s population lives outside the United States, and our sales to foreign consumers account for roughly $300 per head. That value translates to higher incomes for our producers and the rural economies they support.  There’s a very real possibility that today’s action could spark retaliation against American beef producers in the form of higher tariffs and the return of arbitrary non-tariff barriers.”

Until the tariffs are put in place, and U.S. trading partners react no one can say what impact they will have on U.S. agriculture. Many in D.C. believe at this point it's better to be patient and wait to see what the President’s next move will be. Doing this, many believe, will be key to not upsetting key trading relationships that took decades to establish. 

Northern Ag Network 2018

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