WASHINGTON – National Farmers Union (NFU) joined a number of other manufacturing and agricultural organizations to support the U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision to investigate aluminum and steel imports under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. Should the investigation determine that imports threaten national security, the administration is authorized to act to protect the U.S. domestic steel and aluminum industries.
In a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross yesterday, the group emphasized that the investigation is a “crucial opportunity to protect national security, rebuild the U.S. economy, and counter strategic economic tactics of foreign countries.”
In addition to expressing thanks, the coalition urged Secretary Ross to enforce trade rules as a means to address trade distortions, foreign government subsidies, and global overcapacity. “The U.S. manufacturing and agriculture industries have been undermined by years of public policies that failed to neutralize foreign mercantilism and enabled decay of many important U.S. industries,” noted the letter. “As a leader among nations, the U.S. has the responsibility, indeed the obligation, to revise and adjust its policies to match the needs of the modern world.”
NFU President Roger Johnson reaffirmed support for the investigation. “Full implementation of trade rules is essential to ensure trade partners meet their obligations,” Johnson said. “Agriculture has certainly benefitted from international trade and from trade enforcement actions. But too often, a fear of retaliation has led to a lack of enforcement, which ultimately hurts family farmers. For the sake of fair trade and domestic security, we should not shy away from enforcing trade agreements.”
“As the U.S. appropriately moves to reduce our enormous trade deficit, we must act with conviction, tenacity, and wisdom,” Johnson concluded.
National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.