As Trade War Drags On in Pennsylvania, Farmers, Small Businesses and Voters All Voice Opposition to Tariffs

During Pennsylvania Visit, President Trump Should Listen to Keystone-State Residents Hurt by His Trade Policies

SENATOR PAT TOOMEY (R-PA): “TARIFFS ARE A BIG MISTAKE”. “I think the tariffs are a big mistake. I think the policy is very, very counter productive. It makes no sense. …We manufacture 75 to 80 percent of all the steel we consume domestically. Our biggest imported source, for this modest amount that we do import, is Canada. By the way, Canada buys from us as much steel as they sell to us; we just happen to have an almost equal balance of in trade of steel with Canada. So what we’re doing is were slapping a tariff on Canadian steel, which makes no sense at all. They don’t impose that kind of tariff on our steel but we’re doing that. China is completely unaffected because we already don’t buy steel from China.” (Dom Giordano, CBS Philly, 3/7/18)

PHILADELPHIA SMALL BUSINESS OWNER CALLS TARIFFS ‘DEVASTATING’. “A 10 percent increase in tariffs would be devastating to my business. I’m not in a position to absorb the costs. That leaves me two choices: pass the costs on to the consumer or close my business.” (Elizabeth Wellington, “Meet The Philly-Based Accessories Czarina Who Is Fighting The Trump Administration’s Handbag Tariffs,” Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/31/18)

NET FARM INCOME IN THE U.S. IS DOWN 50 PERCENT FROM FOUR YEARS AGO. “‘I am a big Trump supporter and I believe in his whole philosophy, but it’s costing us big bucks and I’d rather not get into a welfare state with handouts,’ said Daryl Alger, who operates one of Pennsylvania’s largest soybean farms at 6,000 acres in Lebanon County. ‘For me and my potential crop, it could amount to a $600,000 to $700,000 loss.’” (Jason Nark, “Most Farmers Would Rather Farm And Sell, Not Take Trump’s Handouts,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, 8/2/18)

PENNSYLVANIANS OVERWHELMINLY THINK TARIFFS HURT THEM. “The Keystone State, one of the areas Trump specifically targeted with his trade rhetoric, is not cheering the tariffs. Only 28 percent of registered voters there believe the moves will protect jobs and boost the economy, versus 46 percent who think they will raise costs for Americans and hurt the economy, according to an NBC/Marist poll.” (Jacob Pramuk, “Trump’s tariffs are unpopular in key midterm states Texas, Peninsula and Illinois: NBC News/Marist polls,” CNBC, 8/23/18)

PHILADELPHIA BUSINESSS SAYS ‘WE’RE GOING TO LOSE SALES’ DUE TO SOLAR TARIFFS. “‘We’re going to lose sales,’ said Micah Gold-Markel, the owner of Solar States, a Philadelphia installer whose sales have doubled each of the last two years, to $4 million in 2017. He said commercial customers that hired his firm to design solar systems, but were not yet committed to install, have expressed second thoughts. Mark Bortman, the founder of Exact Sol in Yardley, said Monday’s tariff announcement would cool consumer demand for installations. ‘The uncertainty has already forced us to delay hiring and expansion plans,’ said Bortman, who had tripled his staff in recent years.” (Andrew Maykuth, “Trump’s Import Tariffs Cast A Dark Cloud Over Local Solar Installers,” Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/23/18)

PENNSYLVANIA KEG MANUFACTURER EXPLAINS HOW TARIFFS ARE COSTING HIS BUSINESS. “But there are some unintended consequences for companies such as us that have competition that make imports. And on the U.S. side, our cost for domestic steel is going to increase because of these tariffs. As the import steel goes up in cost so does the domestic steel.” (Lizzie O’Leary, “The last American Keg company says tariffs come with unintended consequences,” Marketplace, 3/16/18)

THE TRADE WAR COULD COST PENNSYLVANIA $1.7 BILLION. “A detailed study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce tracked the expected effects in each state of U.S. tariffs and retaliatory action against U.S. goods by China, European countries, Mexico and Canada. … The number of exports that could be hit by retaliatory tariffs among the 10 most vulnerable states ranges from $1.7 billion in Pennsylvania to $6.2 billion in Washington.” (Mary Papenfuss, “Trade War Likely to Hit Trump States Hard: U.S. Chamber of Commerce,” Huffington Post, 7/3/18)

KEYSTONE STATE FARMERS ARE FORCED TO SELL THEIR PRODUCE FOR LOWER PRICES. “William Beam, who sells soybeans to brokers for eventual export, told CNBC that he estimates the value of his soybean crop has fallen by about $100 an acre — or nearly $150,000 overall. ‘It’s a lot of money,’ the 58-year-old Beam told CNBC at his Elverson, Pennsylvania, farm last week. ‘If I lose $100 an acre, and you take the acres that I farm, it’s a lot of money. And I don’t think there’s anybody that really can say they’re making a lot of money at these prices, if any.’” (Jacob Pramuk, “It’s a lot of money – Trump’s tariffs take a toll on farmers in Pennsylvania, a key state in the fight for Congress,” NBC 10 Philadelphia, 9/11/18)

PENNSYLVANIA FACTORIES DEPEND ON FOREIGN CUSTOMERS. “The tariffs have a significant impact on Hydro-Extrusion North America, which has a more than 1 million square foot plant in Cressona, Schuylkill County, where it produces soft alloy aluminum extrusions. Mike Hammer, plant manager for Hydro, said the company has hundreds of plants worldwide and employs about 1,100 at its Cressona plant. … ‘We believe in fair trade and open markets,’ Hammer said. ‘We are not really supportive of [these tariffs] because it distorts the supply chain. We’ve lost business and it’s primarily with our Canadian customers.’” (Brian Pedersen, “Tariffs’ toll: As trade dispute continues, costs and uncertainty trouble manufacturers,” Lehigh Valley Business, 10/1/18)

1.6 MILLION PENNSYLVANIA JOBS DEPEND ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE. “Many of the nearly 1.6 million Pennsylvania residents whose jobs depend on international trade could be impacted. They are the collateral damage. And the potential harm to America’s industrial and agricultural heartland is about to get much worse.” (Lucy Wolfe, “Real Ugly, Real Quick: 3 Pennsylvania Industries Feeling the Sting of Tariffs,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 7/10/18)

TARIFFS ARE ALREADY HURTING PENNSYLVANIA AGRICULTURE. “William Boyd has been a farmer all his life and is the President of the Lehigh County Farm Bureau. His soy crops have been hit hard in the last few weeks. …  ‘We’re probably at a little over breakeven now with the prices where they are. It’s cut our prices by about 25 percent.’” (Justin Backover, “President Trump’s Tariffs Impact Lehigh County Farmers,” WFMZ, 7/27/18)

  • “But Boyd is concerned that other countries like Brazil will use this as an opportunity to take over the market for good. ‘They’re going to take over the Chinese market and we’ll be out. The only way we’ll get back in is if we have a lower price,’ he said.” (Justin Backover, “President Trump’s Tariffs Impact Lehigh County Farmers,” WFMZ, 7/27/18)

STEEL WORKERS WORRY TARIFFS WILL COST JOBS. “Dan Moore, a 58-year-old steel mill worker, gives the president an A+ on everything from tax cuts to foreign policy, but he is not so sure about tariffs. … Moore is worried the tariffs might cost him his job. … ‘Tariffs – they may help some people, but they’re gonna hurt a lot of people, too. I don’t know exactly how you balance that,’ Moore said. ‘Maybe it’s not the right time for tariffs.’ Maybe, he says, the president ought to focus more on wages and jobs instead.” (Asma Khalid, “Trumps Tariffs Worry a Small Steel City in Pennsylvania,” NPR, 6/8/18

  • “Bill Almashy, a 48-year-old crane operator at the mill, worries that NLMK might not be able to survive the tariffs. He knows what it is like to lose a steel mill job. This is the third mill he has worked at in recent years. One of the previous mills went bankrupt; the other moved most of its jobs to Mexico.” (Asma Khalid, “Trumps Tariffs Worry a Small Steel City in Pennsylvania,” NPR, 6/8/18)

THE TRADE WAR IS ‘ROILING’ MARKETS FOR PENNSYLVANIA FARMERS. “‘It’s going to create a glut in the market,’ said Mark O’Neill, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. ‘It’s going to mean depressed prices that farmers receive for their beans.’” (Nora Shelly, “As Trade War Roils Soybean Market, Pennsylvania Farmers Plow Ahead,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 7/23/18)

  • “Pennsylvania farmers harvested 585,000 acres of soybeans in 2017, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture survey data, and Mr. O’Neill puts the market value at about $220 million. Most of the state’s soybeans are grown in the southeast part of the state, with York and Lancaster counties topping the list of acres harvested in 2017.” (Nora Shelly, “As Trade War Roils Soybean Market, Pennsylvania Farmers Plow Ahead,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 7/23/18)

TARIFF COSTS WILL BE WIDESPREAD IN PENNSYLVANIA AND ACROSS THE COUNTRY. “The countries involved in trade standoffs with the U.S. all play major roles in the Pennsylvania economy. … New tariffs are also unwelcome in the agriculture industry. Peter Furey, executive director of the New Jersey farm bureau, said its members are angry about a potential trade war. ‘We’re going to feel a lot of pain in prices,’ Furey said.” (Courtney Beck, “In Pa and N.J., Brewing Trade Disputes with Canada and China Could Harm Firms,” Philadelphia Inquirer, 6/22/18)