Sen. Rob Portman hopes for quick end to tariffs that are hurting Ohio farmers

July 24, 2018

Sen. Rob Portman hopes for quick end to tariffs that are hurting Ohio farmers

WASHINGTON, D. C. -  As President Donald Trump declared on Twitter that “Tariffs are the greatest,” Ohio GOP Sen. Rob Portman on Tuesday told reporters that retaliatory tariffs imposed on producers of corn, soybeans and pork haven’t been great for Ohio farmers.

In response to tariffs Trump has imposed on steel, aluminum and $34 billion of Chinese goods, China, Canada, Mexico, the European Union, and other countries have put up their own trade barriers, many of which target U.S. agriculture.

Tariffs are the greatest! Either a country which has treated the United States unfairly on Trade negotiates a fair deal, or it gets hit with Tariffs. It’s as simple as that - and everybody’s talking! Remember, we are the “piggy bank” that’s being robbed. All will be Great!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2018

On Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue announced his department will spend will  up to $12 billion to help farmers affected by “unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods.”

“This is a short-term solution to allow President Trump time to work on long-term trade deals to benefit agriculture and the entire U.S. economy,” said a statement from Perdue. “The President promised to have the back of every American farmer and rancher, and he knows the importance of keeping our rural economy strong. Unfortunately, America’s hard-working agricultural producers have been treated unfairly by China’s illegal trading practices and have taken a disproportionate hit when it comes illegal retaliatory tariffs.”

In Youngstown today at the Vallourec Star steel pipe mill. The workers here are some of the best in the world, and understand how important – and necessary – the Administration’s tariffs are. pic.twitter.com/YT0QEQChO5— Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) July 3, 2018

Noting that agriculture is Ohio’s largest industry, Portman expressed concern that the tariffs will have negative effects on rural parts of the state and said he hopes the disputes will be resolved quickly. Portman, who served as the nation’s top trade negotiator during the administration of President George W. Bush, said he’s concerned that U.S. farmers will lose long term access to foreign markets if the issues aren’t resolved quickly.

“The best answer is more markets,”  Portman said of the aid program that Purdue announced. “Farmers want trade, not aid. But for the short term, this will help get some farmers through a difficult period. One would hope we would be able to work something out with China during this interim period.”

Soy growers talk tariffs, NAFTA and farm bill w/ @RepBobGibbs during this morning’s Hill visits. @OHSoybeanAssoc #soyleaders #NeedNAFTA #farmbill #TradeNotTariffs pic.twitter.com/UyLXh9mDAs— American Soybean (@ASA_Soybeans) July 11, 2018

While Portman opposes the tariffs imposed by Trump, Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown has said they’re needed to fight unfair Chinese trade practices, and called them a tool that will get China to the negotiating table to secure longterm policy changes that will support U.S.  jobs.

Portman said that countries like China have been pirating U.S. intellectual property for years, and Trump is trying to get them to change their practices. He described the tariffs Trump imposed on China as “a risk,” but said there’s a better likelihood of short term success in resolving disputes with Canada - Ohio’s largest agricultural market - and Mexico.

“The idea is not to have this trade dispute continue,” said Portman. “Let’s resolve some of these issues so our farmers and workers in Ohio can have more certainty about the future.”

.@RepJimRenacci on his constituents’ reaction to tariffs: “They always say to me, ‘look we’re a little concerned but we want you supporting the president.’” pic.twitter.com/2oGfisjpFh— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) July 23, 2018

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