In Oshkosh, Walker criticizes President Trump's tariff proposal

Published: Mar. 6, 2018 at 1:04 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is touring the state to speak out against President Donald Trump's proposal for tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

President Trump has proposed a 10 percent increase in tariffs on aluminum.

Walker stopped Tuesday morning at Bemis Company in Oshkosh. Bemis, a company that employs thousands of people in Wisconsin, uses ultra-thin aluminum in production and manufacturing.

“The goal of the Trump administration, I believe, is to protect American workers,” Gov. Walker said. "Unfortunately, the practical application of the tariffs on steel and aluminum would lead to jobs being lost in Wisconsin and moved, not to other states, but to other countries."

He went on, "My ultimate concern is that that would encourage other companies here in Wisconsin (and) across America, to say maybe they have to look at going somewhere else, to a country that doesn't have tariffs on aluminum or other cases, steel, but ultimately because of access."

Another Wisconsin industry would likely see increased costs. Some brewers have come out against the tariff as they worry increased costs would force them to pass the cost down to the customer.

Action 2 News spoke with local brewer Brad Stillmank. “This one could be potentially major. The Brewers Association, our national group, has come out and said this could be as much as a 25 percent price increase on aluminum, and as somebody that uses as much aluminum as we do, that will be significant,” said Stillmank.

MillerCoors, Lakefront Brewery, and Milwaukee Tool have also come out against the proposed tariffs, according to the governor's office.

President Trump has claimed that America's steel and aluminum industries "are dead" and he has lamented trade deficits with Canada and Mexico. The president Tweeted that tariffs would be reconsidered if a "new and fair" NAFTA deal is signed with our neighbors.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Janesville) said Tuesday that the trade issue needs a "more surgical approach" than what the president is proposing.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) has called the president's proposals "concerning." Johnson said he plans to work with the administration to "ensure fair, robust trade policies that protect our state’s workers and consumers.”

The Associated Press reports that U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) expressed support for using tariffs when it comes to trade with Russia and China. However, she expressed worry about starting a trade war with Canada and the impact on Wisconsin businesses.

Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is weighing in on the president's tariff proposals -- and European countries' threats of retaliation with tariffs on American products like Harley-Davidson motorcycles and Kentucky bourbon.

"What concerns me is any manufacturer in Wisconsin that uses steel and aluminum products will be affected. Whether they're targeted or not, the price of their base product will increase and their ability to compete globally will be decreased, and so it threatens jobs across the board, not just at Harley-Davidson but at any business that actually utilizes rolled steel and aluminum. It's not a good thing. It's a highly risky strategy, and that's why I'm so opposed to it," Sen. Johnson said.

Democratic Wisconsin U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin says she's waiting before judging the proposed tariffs. She says she wants the administration to release details of the plans first.

Baldwin says she supports sending a strong message to countries she calls "bad actors" like Russia and China, but she also fears a blanket tariff could start a trade war with allies and hurt Wisconsin manufacturers and the state's agricultural economy.