President Donald Trump is moving ahead with steel and aluminum tariffs on some of the United States’ closest allies, and that could result in serious pain for agriculture. Politico says any official documents released by the administration are expected to include some wiggle room for allies. European Union officials are said to be resigned to accepting that some sort of tariffs are coming their way. The EU has vowed to hit back with retaliatory tariffs. A recent list compiled by the EU targeted $3.3 billion worth of U.S. imports.
Politico says the list shows products targeted for retaliation were drafted so as not to harm European Union industries. Some of the products are clearly designed to impact Republican-leaning states, such as Kentucky bourbon. Others on the list include rice, peanut butter, orange juice, and cranberries. Canada and Mexico aren’t immune from the tariffs either, and both countries have said they will retaliate. “It’s frankly absurd that we would in any way be considered to be a national security threat to the United States,” says Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland.
U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Tom Sleight issued the following statement regarding the announcement:
“The U.S. Grains Council is deeply concerned about new tariffs set to be implemented at midnight 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 counter measures 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.”