CLOSINGS: View Closings

U.S. Ag Secretary - Trump tariffs not as bad as feared

"This president has the unique ability to turn some things that we think are initially negative into positives.”

Posted: Mar 10, 2018 11:02 AM

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Agricultural Secretary Sonny Perdue said Friday that while he’s as anxious as farmers are about President Donald Trump’s new tariffs, the move doesn’t look as bad as he originally thought.

Perdue said during a trip to meet with representatives of North Dakota’s agricultural sector that Trump’s decision to enact a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent levy on aluminum looks better in the final version than it did when first announced. He joked with farmers in Iowa earlier this week that one option for farmers who fear a trade war may be to pray.

“I was very concerned last week with the surprise announcement on the steel and aluminum tariffs, as most people in the White House were,” Perdue said during a press conference at North Dakota State University. “But we hope to turn it into a positive. This president has the unique ability to turn some things that we think are initially negative into positives.”

Perdue says the final version looked much better because Canada and Mexico were excluded, which he believes could spark discussions on improving the North American Free Trade Agreement. He said he will be on edge until NAFTA is recertified and reauthorized and the U.S. addresses trade issues with its key importers.

Agriculture producers receive 20 cents out of every dollar from exports. Perdue heard from about 20 farm representatives Friday, most of whom didn’t pass the microphone until saying something about trade. Mark Martinson, a durum wheat farmer in northeastern North Dakota, said the U.S cannot risk losing “China, Indonesia, all those markets.”

In addition to Trump backing off on Canada and Mexico, Perdue was relieved the president indicated he was willing to work with Europe and other U.S. allies on improving trade. Canada and Mexico are two of the largest suppliers of agricultural products to the United States, according to Commerce Department figures. In 2016, the U.S. imported $22 billion in ag products from Canada and exported $23 billion; the U.S imported $23 billion from Mexico and exported $18 billion.

The European Union, meanwhile, said it is putting together a list of agricultural products it plans to target for tariffs as retaliation to the U.S.

“This is a president who is willing to change his mind over issues,” Perdue said. “He came out of the campaign literally believing that everybody in the United States hated NAFTA. And we had to walk in and show him that many of his supporters and voters benefited from NAFTA.”

North Dakota U.S. Sens. John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp said Perdue has been willing to stand up to the president on the importance of trade to agriculture.

“Secretary Perdue has been a very strong advocate for the farmer on trade,” Hoeven said. “No question about it. Right from the start with NAFTA, now with the tariffs, he’s been very vocal with the administration on the importance of trade to agriculture.”

Heitkamp said the first thing Perdue said to her in their first face-to-face meeting was “trade, trade, trade” and is happy he is pushing back against trade policies that will hurt farmers.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 282916

Reported Deaths: 3359
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin605241095
Ramsey25467477
Anoka20172216
Dakota19573179
Washington12799108
Stearns1254793
Scott764754
St. Louis763197
Wright683036
Olmsted616033
Sherburne522339
Clay449655
Carver420912
Blue Earth379511
Rice377732
Kandiyohi365915
Crow Wing324131
Nobles298029
Chisago28838
Otter Tail273315
Benton269340
Winona251828
Mower239723
Polk230621
Douglas228929
Morrison215321
Lyon200011
McLeod19289
Beltrami190415
Goodhue180926
Becker178810
Steele17296
Itasca170524
Isanti170216
Todd167412
Carlton161310
Nicollet148223
Freeborn14195
Mille Lacs136530
Le Sueur135010
Waseca131811
Cass12368
Pine12216
Brown121110
Meeker11187
Roseau10143
Martin100620
Hubbard100022
Wabasha9351
Redwood82718
Dodge7980
Chippewa7907
Watonwan7884
Cottonwood7431
Renville73118
Sibley7224
Wadena7166
Aitkin69224
Rock6779
Pipestone67318
Houston6242
Fillmore6150
Yellow Medicine58211
Pennington5576
Murray5433
Kanabec54112
Swift5266
Pope4910
Faribault4901
Stevens4552
Clearwater4456
Marshall4377
Jackson4291
Lake3654
Unassigned35856
Koochiching3475
Wilkin3305
Lac qui Parle3213
Lincoln3171
Norman3166
Big Stone2801
Mahnomen2554
Grant2396
Red Lake1973
Kittson1876
Traverse1340
Lake of the Woods891
Cook600

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 216579

Reported Deaths: 2240
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk32244325
Linn13583162
Scott1055981
Black Hawk10541131
Woodbury9984116
Johnson920835
Dubuque886590
Story656619
Dallas611456
Pottawattamie589167
Sioux356425
Webster345831
Marshall339244
Cerro Gordo332342
Clinton312337
Buena Vista293514
Muscatine273968
Des Moines270616
Warren264810
Plymouth261938
Wapello244071
Jones225313
Jasper208440
Marion196719
Carroll192621
Lee191716
Bremer187212
Henry17257
Crawford170715
Benton162716
Tama149440
Jackson138511
Delaware137221
Washington135813
Boone130711
Dickinson128510
Mahaska123427
Wright11835
Buchanan11249
Clay10964
Hardin109310
Page10854
Hamilton10477
Clayton10455
Harrison102428
Calhoun10237
Cedar102213
Fayette10008
Mills9977
Floyd98614
Lyon9858
Kossuth9675
Poweshiek95512
Butler9375
Winneshiek91510
Iowa89611
Winnebago88023
Louisa82316
Hancock8217
Grundy81711
Sac8077
Chickasaw8014
Cherokee7814
Cass77221
Appanoose7509
Shelby7346
Allamakee73211
Guthrie72415
Humboldt7205
Mitchell7204
Union7166
Emmet71424
Franklin68820
Madison6614
Jefferson6441
Palo Alto6114
Unassigned5961
Keokuk5537
Pocahontas5442
Howard5089
Greene5070
Osceola5031
Clarke4644
Ida45510
Davis4415
Taylor4352
Montgomery43410
Monroe43112
Adair4218
Monona4032
Fremont3483
Van Buren3434
Worth3410
Lucas3166
Decatur3070
Wayne2896
Audubon2841
Ringgold1902
Adams1551
Rochester
Overcast
33° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 25°
Mason City
Overcast
34° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 25°
Albert Lea
34° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 26°
Austin
34° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 26°
Charles City
Overcast
34° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 25°
Cloudy for Wednesday
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events