Sen. Chuck Grassley, a member of the Finance Committee, wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this week calling on President Trump to remove aluminum and steel tariffs.
Grassley has met with congressional colleagues and trade officials in the United States, Canada and Mexico to discuss how nations will secure legislative approval of the U.S., Mexico, Canada Agreement, or USMCA, also often referred to as the new Nafta, he wrote in the WSJ opinion piece.
“A significant roadblock is the administration’s tariffs on steel and aluminum and retaliatory Canadian and Mexican tariffs on U.S. products,” wrote Grassley. “These levies are a tax on Americans, and they jeopardize USMCA’s prospects of passage in the Mexican Congress, Canadian Parliament and U.S. Congress.”
“Canadian and Mexican trade officials may be more delicate in their language, but they’re diplomats,” wrote Grassley. “I’m not. If these tariffs aren’t lifted, USMCA is dead. There is no appetite in Congress to debate USMCA with these tariffs in place.”
Many Americans have been harmed by retaliatory tariffs, wrote Grassley.
For example, Mexican tariffs on U.S. pork have lowered the value of live hogs by $12 an animal, wrote Grassley, pointing out that Iowa is the top pork-producing state in the country.
“That means jobs, wages and communities are hurt every day these tariffs continue — as I hear directly from Iowans,” he wrote. “It’s time for the tariffs to go.”
Earlier this year U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told the House Ways and Means Committee that failing to pass USMCA this year would damage the credibility of America’s global trade agenda, particularly the efforts to secure a deal with China, wrote Grassley.
“He’s right,” he said.
“The administration can take the lead by promptly lifting tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada and Mexico and working with allies to address the true source of overcapacity: China,” wrote Grassley.
“This essential step is fully within the administration’s control and would immediately clear a significant hurdle to passage,” wrote Grassley.
Meanwhile, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and congressional Democrats should recognize this historic win for the country and engage in good faith to pass USMCA this year, he said.
“USMCA is good for the environment, for workers, for jobs and for nearly every sector of America’s economy,” he concluded. “I hope Washington rises to the occasion.”