Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has mixed feelings on the metals tariffs.
This week he praised President Trump’s use of the tariffs as a North American Free Trade Agreement negotiation tactic, while admitting the tariffs could adversely impact agriculture, explains Pro Farmer’s Jim Wiesemeyer.
“I plan to tell the president that he has them just where he wants them,'' Perdue said at a Wall Street Journal forum, adding that the tariffs have given the U.S. leverage to win concessions on steel and the North American Free Trade Agreement. "Let’s use this off-balance technique to extract what we would like in exchange whether it’s Mexico, Canada or our EU partners.”
According to Wiesemeyer, Purdue also recently acknowledged the anxiety Trump’s trade rhetoric is generating throughout farm country.
“Those of us in the agricultural sector are rightfully concerned and somewhat anxious over retaliatory measures,” Perdue said, adding that Canada has been “fairly reticent and maybe intransigent” in addressing issues in seven months of renegotiating NAFTA.
Still, Wiesemeyer says Perdue understands that agriculture relies on exports for an average of 20 cents of every dollar earned and that agricultural goods are often early targets when countries retaliate against the U.S.