MacIver News Service | July 17, 2018
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON – U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson is taking a message to President Donald Trump: Tariffs are hurting Wisconsin business.
“All are reporting how steel prices, domestically sourced, have increased 30 to 40 percent, which increases their costs and makes them globally uncompetitive,” Johnson said.
The Oshkosh Republican talked trade, tariffs and Trump with MacIver News Service Tuesday morning on the Dan Conry Show, on NewsTalk 1310 WIBA.
Farmers, manufacturers, businesses small and large say they are taking a beating in the wake of an array of tariffs the Trump administration has slapped on goods from China, the European Union, Canada and elsewhere. Some of those major players have hit the U.S. with retaliatory tariffs.
Johnson heard from 15 Badger State business leaders Monday at the Federal Courthouse in Milwaukee.
“Nobody had a good thing to say about it,” the senator said. “All are reporting how steel prices, domestically sourced, have increased 30 to 40 percent, which increases their costs and makes them globally uncompetitive.”
“They are losing orders, they are losing markets that they’ve taken decades to develop,” Johnson added.
The president is right in demanding true free trade with China in particular, Johnson said. Last year the U.S. trade deficit with China topped $375 billion. It stood at $152 billion as of May, according federal data. But Johnson said the Trump administration needs to attack trade imbalances with a unified front of global trading partners.
Johnson said he is preparing a summary of Wisconsin business sentiment to send on to the president.
On Trump’s much-discussed meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Johnson said it should be clear that Putin and his government are the reason for chilled relations between the superpowers. During a press conference in Helsinki, Finland, Trump indicated that federal investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election created the deeper rift.
While Russian meddling is very real, Johnson said it is not the greatest threat to our democracy, as many Democrats suggest.
“I’m chairman of (the) Homeland Security (and Governmental Affairs Committee). There are far greater threats to this nation,” the senator said.
Listen to the entire interview with Sen. Johnson on MacIver News Service’s latest podcast: