Eight California congressional representatives sent a bipartisan letter to the Trump administration Monday urging a second look at imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
The reason for their concern is China’s reaction to the administration’s March 8 announcement of a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum. The Chinese have retaliated by imposing $3 billion worth of tariffs on more than 80 U.S. agriculture products.
“Agriculture drives the American economy and is the backbone of the Central Valley’s economy,” said Rep. David Valado (R-Hanford). “Not only do the proposed tariffs fail to adequately remedy China’s unfair practices, such tariffs seriously jeopardize our farmers’ access to export markets, which accounts for roughly twenty percent of their production.”
“While advancing equitable trade policies between foreign nations and the United States is critical, implementing such tariffs will have a long-lasting negative impact on hardworking Central Valley farmers who are already struggling.”
Some of the agricultural products most affected by China’s retaliation to the Trump tariffs are almonds, pistachios and wine, Reuters reported in April.
Costa, Denham Sign Valadao’s Letter
Two other Valley lawmakers — Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) and Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) — joined Valadao in signing the letter.
The others asking the Trump administration to rethink its tariff and foreign trade policies were Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village), Rep. Steve Knight (R-Lancaster), Rep. Salud O. Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara), Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-Monterey) and Rep. John Garamendi (D-Walnut Grove).
Valley Economist: Trump’s Plan Is Off-Target
Here is what UC Merced economics professor Greg Wright wrote after the president made his tariffs announcement:
“The president … believes that China has unfairly exploited U.S. workers and businesses and must be punished. Rather than take the more prudent approach and work with other countries that have been affected by Chinese exports, Trump has instead chosen to strike a blow that will hit not just China but the global economy as well.
“That’s because the complexity and interconnectedness of the global trading system make it nearly impossible to narrowly target specific countries, as the U.S.-China trade relationship demonstrates.”