Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr. said he’s “very disappointed” in the president’s plan to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.
“It’s possible countries impacted by the tariff will retaliate against U.S. ag products,” Guebert said. “We are closely monitoring how other countries respond. Our strategy going forward will be based on those responses.”
Citing “national security,” President Donald Trump announced plans to impose a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum. Canada and Mexico remain exempt.
The tariffs go into effect March 23.
The United States imports more steel than any other country. In 2017 alone, the U.S. imported 36.6 million tons. Canada is the largest steel exporter to the United States, followed by Brazil, South Korea and Mexico. China ranks 10th, accounting for 2.9 percent of steel imported last year. In Illinois, steel accounted for only 2.74 percent of all imports in 2017.
A group of Republican lawmakers wrote Trump last week expressing “deep concern” about the prospect of broad, global tariffs on aluminum and steel imports.
“We support your resolve to address distortions caused by China’s unfair practices, and we are committed to acting with you and our trading partners on meaningful and effective action,” they wrote. “But we urge you to reconsider the idea of broad tariffs to avoid unintended negative consequences to the U.S. economy and its workers.”
Members of Congress from Illinois signing the letter included Randy Hultgren, R-Winfield; Adam Kinzinger, R-Manteno; Darin LaHood, R-Dunlap; and Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton.