US Senator Chuck Grassley has called on the Trump administration to end Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Canada and Mexico before Congress considers a proposed replacement for Nafta.
While the proposed Nafta replacement - the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) - tackles the trade concerns of farmers and ranchers in addition to those of the steel and automotive industries, agriculture producers are unlikely to realize its market access promises if Section 232 tariffs remain, the Iowa Republican said on his website on Wednesday January 30.
Under the USMCA, steel and aluminium from Canada and Mexico would not be exempt from Section 232 tariffs, which were implemented against those countries on June 1, 2018. After the duties took effect, those countries issued retaliatory tariffs, with US farmers and food companies reportedly among those hit hardest.
“Because of [Section 232] tariffs, Mexico and Canada have imposed retaliatory tariffs on American exports… Paired with Chinese retaliatory tariffs on pork, soybeans, corn and wheat, our farmers need relief fast,” Grassley and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig said in the website statement, referring to dairy, poultry and egg producers in Iowa.
Mexico and Canada are Iowa’s top trading partners. Those countries receive 47% of Iowa’s exports - valued at $5.6 billion - according to a 2017 assessment by the US Chamber of Commerce.
“Before Congress considers legislation to implement USMCA, the Administration should lift tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from our top two trading partners and secure the elimination of retaliatory tariffs that stand to wipe out gains our farmers have made over the past two and a half decades,” Grassley and Naig said.
An ad hoc coalition of more than 45 groups from various US industries called on the Trump administration to end the Section 232 tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium from Canada and Mexico.