Senate

Grassley calls for end to steel tariffs before talks on new trade deal

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is calling on the White House to lift all tariffs on imports of Canadian and Mexican steel and aluminum before Congress considers the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). 

"Unfortunately, our producers are unlikely to realize the market access promises of USMCA while the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico remain. Because of these tariffs, Mexico and Canada have imposed retaliatory tariffs on American exports," Grassley said in a joint statement with Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig on Wednesday.

"Before Congress considers legislation to implement USMCA, the Administration should lift tariffs on steel and aluminum 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."

The deal to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was reached last November, though it must be approved by legislators in all three capitals.

President Trump railed against NAFTA during the 2016 campaign, arguing that it hurt farmers and vowing to replace it.

However, the White House's trade wars have put a damper on relations with its neighbors.

U.S. farmers have been particularly impacted by retaliatory tariffs from Canada and Mexico as well as trade friction with European allies and China. 

"When our rich soils are paired with the skill of our state's farmers and cutting edge tools designed to optimize our agricultural production, the results are dramatic. Having free trade and robust export markets are critical to thousands of Iowans' livelihoods," Grassley and Naig added in their statement.

"We'll be working all hands on deck to get the job done. But we need the Administration to help us pave the way," they added.

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