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Iowa leaders praise President for dropping tariffs against Mexico and Canada

President Donald Trump - AP image

Governor and Ag Secretary call on Congress to ratify the USMCA.

Posted: May 17, 2019 2:47 PM
Updated: May 17, 2019 4:48 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Bogged down in a sprawling trade dispute with U.S. rival China, President Donald Trump took steps Friday to ease tensions with America's allies — lifting import taxes on Canadian and Mexican steel and aluminum and delaying auto tariffs that would have hurt Japan and Europe.

By removing the metals tariffs on Canada and Mexico, Trump cleared a key roadblock to a North American trade pact his team negotiated last year. As part of Friday's arrangement, the Canadians and Mexicans agreed to scrap retaliatory tariffs they had imposed on U.S. goods, according to four sources in the U.S. and Canada who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of an announcement.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds issued the following statement on this latest development:

“Today represents a significant step forward for Iowa’s agriculture and manufacturing industries. Mexico and Canada are Iowa’s top two trading partners, and the removal of steel, aluminium, and retaliatory tariffs will increase exports of Iowa products. I want to thank President Trump and his administration for leading on this important issue throughout the entire negotiation process. Now that these tariffs have been lifted, it’s critical for Congress to ratify the USMCA as soon as possible.”

In a joint statement, the U.S. and Canada said they would work to prevent cheap imports of steel and aluminum from entering North America. China has long been accused of flooding world markets with subsidized metal, driving down world prices and hurting U.S. producers.

Earlier Friday, the White House said Trump is delaying for six months any decision to slap tariffs on foreign cars, a move that would have hit Japan and the Europe especially hard.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig issued the following reaction:

“I’m encouraged by the trade news coming out of Washington today. With the steel tariffs lifted, this is the time for Congress to approve the USMCA. The passage will protect our relationships with two of our biggest ag trading partners, Canada and Mexico. Japan is also a valuable trading partner for Iowa livestock producers, and now they will have the opportunity to sell beef products without restrictions.”

Trump still is hoping to use the threat of auto tariffs to pressure Japan and the European Union into making concessions in ongoing trade talks. "If agreements are not reached within 180 days, the president will determine whether and what further action needs to be taken," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

In imposing the metals tariffs and threatening the ones on autos, the president was relying on a rarely used weapon in the U.S. trade war arsenal — Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 — which lets the president impose tariffs on imports if the Commerce Department deems them a threat to national security.

But the steel and aluminum tariffs were also designed to coerce Canada and Mexico into agreeing to a rewrite of North American free trade pact. In fact, the Canadians and Mexicans did go along last year with a revamped regional trade deal that was to Trump's liking. But the administration had refused to lift the taxes on their metals to the United States until Friday.

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst also commented on the President's decision:

“This is huge news for Iowa—especially our state’s farmers and manufacturers who have been caught in the crosshairs of this tariff war with our neighbors. Months ago the president indicated that when a new trade deal was reached with Mexico and Canada, the tariffs would no longer be needed. Today’s he’s followed through on that."

“I’ve continuously shared stories of the severe impact these tariffs have had on folks back home and pressed President Trump and his administration about the urgent need to remove the 232 tariffs from two of Iowa’s top trading partners."

“Now more than ever is the time for Speaker Pelosi and our House colleagues to signal their support for USMCA. We need to ratify this agreement swiftly—Iowa’s farmers and manufacturers are counting on it.”

The new trade deal — the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement — needs approval the legislatures in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Several key U.S. lawmakers were threatening to reject the pact unless the tariffs were removed. And Canada had suggested it wouldn't ratify any deal while the tariffs were still in place.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 915942

Reported Deaths: 9606
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1786832038
Ramsey739711046
Dakota67683587
Anoka64112577
Washington40545359
Stearns33631279
St. Louis29591409
Scott25994186
Wright25957217
Olmsted22339130
Sherburne19000127
Carver1670669
Clay12104105
Blue Earth1147970
Rice11451138
Crow Wing11213123
Chisago995379
Kandiyohi9815108
Otter Tail9813127
Benton9033125
Beltrami816997
Goodhue811798
Douglas7875101
Itasca772299
Mower733449
McLeod713084
Winona710258
Isanti700783
Steele685731
Morrison672879
Becker628574
Polk603187
Freeborn561246
Carlton546974
Mille Lacs532479
Lyon528461
Nobles525054
Nicollet522460
Pine515043
Cass501253
Todd492843
Brown470759
Le Sueur459734
Meeker433458
Martin386544
Wabasha375510
Waseca374333
Dodge361112
Hubbard355249
Roseau316231
Fillmore305315
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Redwood281445
Houston272017
Renville268451
Faribault258233
Sibley252317
Pennington252130
Kanabec250136
Cottonwood230132
Aitkin222450
Chippewa220542
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Rock177729
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Swift173123
Stevens167511
Jackson161016
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Marshall153522
Murray151811
Pipestone149729
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Wilkin121116
Mahnomen106014
Norman10509
Grant101510
Big Stone9485
Lincoln8805
Kittson73223
Red Lake71410
Traverse6056
Unassigned545124
Lake of the Woods5265
Cook3071

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 525758

Reported Deaths: 7379
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk81677809
Linn32838430
Scott27126295
Black Hawk22334382
Woodbury20736263
Johnson20150108
Dubuque18996243
Pottawattamie16215214
Dallas15573115
Story1398059
Warren8637107
Cerro Gordo8141125
Clinton7928115
Webster7419124
Des Moines7153106
Marshall675494
Muscatine6717117
Wapello6546145
Jasper630591
Sioux622477
Lee5977106
Marion567697
Buena Vista503449
Plymouth493388
Henry427155
Benton414760
Jones413564
Bremer403873
Boone397042
Washington395464
Carroll373355
Mahaska372366
Crawford355647
Jackson324047
Dickinson317555
Buchanan312743
Delaware303255
Clay297636
Kossuth293477
Fayette290356
Hardin289253
Tama282878
Page276133
Wright270050
Cedar269527
Winneshiek267744
Hamilton262757
Floyd261049
Clayton252360
Poweshiek242043
Harrison240979
Madison237425
Butler237346
Cass235667
Iowa234336
Jefferson228544
Mills225330
Hancock222840
Winnebago222339
Cherokee217347
Appanoose210157
Lyon209842
Allamakee209456
Calhoun199519
Shelby199542
Union197141
Humboldt188231
Franklin188031
Grundy186137
Chickasaw184522
Mitchell184343
Emmet180146
Louisa178653
Sac175626
Guthrie169338
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Montgomery163146
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Howard150624
Monroe144340
Ida134141
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Lucas126127
Monona124940
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Pocahontas122125
Adair118239
Osceola105718
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Taylor100914
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Van Buren95922
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