WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, today pressed Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on how the Trump administration plans to protect Wisconsin farmers from China’s retaliation after President Trump announced tariffs on Chinese imports, and what concrete steps it is taking to better support Wisconsin’s agriculture economy.
“Wisconsin’s farmers are facing a very challenging year and are deeply concerned by the Chinese threats of tariffs and retaliation. I am proud to have secured expanded resources for our dairy farmers as they manage in this difficult dairy economy. I support taking action to punish China for its cheating and create a level playing field for American workers and farmers, but I also believe that the Trump Administration should act to prevent harmful retaliation against farmers in Wisconsin and across the country,” said Senator Baldwin. “Today I urged Secretary Purdue to take more steps to provide support for farmers targeted by China’s retaliatory tariffs, address Canada’s unfair dairy pricing scheme and ensure Wisconsin farmers have the tools they need to be successful and boost our agriculture economy.”
Secretary Perdue agreed with Senator Baldwin about the importance of responding to these unfair trade practices, and acknowledged Senator Baldwin’s important work advocating to include provisions in the 2018 government spending measure that gives USDA the authority to support farmers impacted by trade disputes.
In addition to urging the Secretary to use his authorities to protect Wisconsin agricultural products, Senator Baldwin raised concerns that the USDA may not have enough data to determine if Wisconsin specialty crops like cranberries and ginseng are suffering from Chinese tariffs in real-time. She encouraged the Secretary to work with Wisconsin industries to get the appropriate data to ensure that the USDA can respond if these products suffer price impacts due to Chinese retaliation.
Senator Baldwin has been sounding the alarm for over a year about Canada’s trade barriers and how they are harming Wisconsin dairy farms. Senator Baldwin has called for a federal investigation into these Canadian trade barriers, and has also pressed President Trump, U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer and USDA Secretary Perdue to act on the dairy trade barriers.