Wisconsin farmers talk about impact of 'Trade War' and tariffs

Wis. (WBAY) -- It’s been a little more than two weeks since Canada imposed a new round of tariffs on goods in the United States.

The country’s move is in direct relation to what President Donald Trump’s Administration did months before when he imposed a tax on imported Canadian Steel and aluminum.

Experts say Canada is the latest to join what some call ‘a trade war.’

According to WisContext, a Wisconsin based organization that serves UW-Extension, Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television, says Canada is the biggest destination for exported goods from Wisconsin, averaging about $6.85 billion every year from 2008-2017.

These tariffs are the latest to hit Wisconsin businesses, while others have been dealing with them for months saying its having an impact on their pocket books.

At a quick stop in Manitowoc Monday, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker addressed the Canadian tariff concerns saying tariffs are nothing new.

“They are new because they are getting attention right now,” said Gov. Walker.

Walker brought up what happened to dozens of farmers last year, when a Canadian dairy company stopped buying their milk with very little notice.

“Go ask the 54 farmers who got cut off from Grassland,” said Gov. Walker. “When Ontario’s price controls screwed a whole bunch of our farmers. It’s been long before these tariffs.”

Walker said Wisconsin would be better off without tariffs
“Our farmers and manufactures, our people and our workers can compete with anyone in the world as long as we have a level playing field, but it’s not a level playing field now. It hasn’t been for quite some time,” said Walker. “Our farmers would do better if we had no tariffs anywhere, not just the ones talked about recently, but those imposed on our products many years before that."

The United State’s so-called ‘trade war’ is not just with Canada, but spans to Mexico, China and other European Countries.

“In the end, trade wars hurt consumers,” said Senator Ron Johnson, (R) Wisconsin. “I can’t point out enough. A Tariff is just another name for a tax.”

Johnson hosted a round table with a group of farmers on Monday, who say their bottom line has been hit hard.

“Our customers will end up paying over $6 million more for the increased cost of their kidney beans,” said Cindy Brown with the Chippewa Valley Bean Company.

“In the soybean market, we lost $2.5 a bushel. Translation to my farm, I lost $60,000 in 30 days,” said Brad Kremer, a soybean farmer.

The stories shared with Johnson will head back to the Trump Administration for further review.