Trump signals flexibility on tariffs

Following a conversation with U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says that despite the Trump administration’s decision to proceed with tariffs on aluminum and steel, the Commerce Department will retain the ability to grant exemptions to ease the impact on Wisconsin companies.

Walker cited exceptions such as Bemis Manufacturing’s concerns over the supply of ultra-thin aluminum and Seneca Foods Corp.’s concerns over the supply of tinplate steel. Bemis is a Sheboygan Falls-based manufacturer of bathroom and health care products and Kelch brand caps and gauges for fluid management systems. Seneca Foods, headquartered in Marion, N.Y., has several food processing plants in Wisconsin and a can manufacturing facility in Baraboo.

In a statement released by Walker Press Secretary Amy Hasenberg, Walker pledged to continue to work with these and other Wisconsin companies to get relief from the negative impacts of the tariffs. In late March, Trump will impose a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminum.

President Trump is a frequent critic of China’s practice of dumping steel in the United States market, and in response he has called for a tariff, or tax on imports, on aluminum and steel. Critics of the move, including several prominent Republicans, have warned about the economic fallout of retaliatory tariffs on American products, causing the President to exempt trading partners such as Canada and Mexico, pending the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.