News Tribune: McCaskill shares state senators’ concerns on tariffs

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill agrees with concerns raised by 16 Missouri state senators about negative impacts on tariffs caused by the Trump administration’s decision to impose tariffs on manufacturing and agriculture imports.

In a letter to the 16 Missouri lawmakers — including Mid-Missouri Republicans Mike Kehoe and Jeanie Riddle — McCaskill noted the “threatened retaliation from China and our other trading partners” because of the administration’s decision.

“These potential retaliatory actions, if implemented, could upend Missouri’s economy and cause serious harm to families in our state,” McCaskill wrote. “Given the serious consequences a potential trade war would have on Missouri, I have taken every opportunity to encourage the Administration to reverse these actions.”

In their letter to McCaskill, a Democrat, and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican, the 12 Missouri Senate Republicans and four Democrats wrote they were concerned about market reactions to the tariffs, and the negative consequences those have had on Missouri manufacturing and agriculture.

McCaskill said: “Businesses in our state require aluminum and steel to manufacture a multitude of products. The Administration has so far exempted only a small percentage of imports from these tariffs, bringing little certainty to the markets.”

She added: “All of these businesses must compete in a global economy, and we put them at a disadvantage and risk jobs of Missouri’s workers when we make the manufacturing process more expensive.”

McCaskill also said she has “heard from several small businesses in Missouri who may suffer the most because of these actions, because they cannot afford to navigate the complicated exemption process and see their entire business at risk because of these new policies.”

She told the Missouri lawmakers she’s “greatly troubled” by the administration’s targeting of China.

“While I am very concerned about China’s theft of American intellectual property, I do not think starting a trade war with Missouri’s largest trading partner is the right approach,” she wrote. “China’s targets for retaliation include some of Missouri’s top exports like soybeans, corn and beef.

“The combination of falling commodity prices and the loss of important export markets for our agriculture could devastate Missouri’s economy and cripple our rural communities.”

In addition to Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, and Riddle, R-Mokane, the letter to Missouri’s two U.S. Senators was signed by Republicans Ron Richard, of Joplin; Bob Onder, of Lake St. Louis; Sandy Crawford, of Buffalo; Mike Cunningham, of Rogersville; Dan Hegeman, of Cosby; Denny Hoskins, of Warrensburg; Doug Libla, of Poplar Bluff; David Sater, of Cassville; Wayne Wallingford, of Cape Girardeau; and Paul Wieland, of Imperial.

The four Democrats signing the letter were Maria Chappelle-Nadal, of University City; Jason Holsman, of Kansas City; John Rizzo, of Kansas City; and Jill Schupp, of Creve Coeur.

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