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Serving: United States
President Donald Trump talking with steel industry leaders Getty Images/Win McNamee

Ag groups praise removal of steel, aluminum tariffs

Farm groups hopeful this will aid passage of USMCA.

President Trump suspended tariffs on Canadian and Mexican steel and aluminum on Friday. The tariffs were imposed a year ago.

The tariffs were 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum. The two countries, top U.S. trading partners retaliated with tariffs on U.S. products. Those will be repealed.

“With this milestone reached, we urge negotiators to continue their work toward re-opening markets with the European Union, China and Japan,” said American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “The Farm Bureau believes in fair trade. Eliminating more tariffs and other trade barriers is critical to achieving that goal.”

The National Pork Producers Council is hopeful the move will restore trade between the nations.

"Mexico's 20% retaliatory tariff on U.S. pork has cost our producers $12 per animal, or $1.5 billion on an annualized, industry-wide basis,” said David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, N.C., and National Pork Producers Council president. “Removing the metal tariffs restores zero-tariff trade to U.S. pork's largest export market and allows NPPC to focus more resources on working toward ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which preserves zero-tariff trade for U.S. pork in North America."

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue praised his boss.

“I thank President Trump for negotiating a great deal and for negotiating the removal of these tariffs,” Perdue said. “Canada and Mexico are two of our top three trading partners, and it is my expectation that they will immediately pull back their retaliatory tariffs against our agricultural products. Congress should move swiftly to ratify the USMCA so American farmers can begin to benefit from the agreement.”

And others said with the removal of the tariffs, now is the time to move on the USMCA.

“This agreement will help businesses recover from lost profits. Now that these tariffs are removed, it is time to pass USMCA, which will help provide certainty for our farmers and ranchers,” said Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

“Removing this trade barrier opens the door for Congress to ratify the U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement,” said National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall. “NCBA strongly supports the USMCA, and now is the time for Congress to work with President Trump to ratify the USMCA as soon as possible. We cannot afford to delay action on this monumental agreement.”

“We are encouraged by the Trump Administration’s decision to end tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada and Mexico.,” said Dennis Slater, president of Association of Equipment Manufacturers. “But there is still a lot that must be done to better support equipment manufacturers and the 1.3 million men and women of our industry. We need our elected officials to make it easier, not more difficult, for American businesses, manufacturers and farmers to be competitive in a 21st century global marketplace.”

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