MADRAS, OR -- There has been bipartisan speculation the President’s decision to impose tariffs on some steel and aluminum products could lead to a trade war. U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) worries it will put Oregon jobs at risk. "One out of five jobs in Oregon depends on international trade," Wyden told KBND News during a recent stop in Madras, "The trade jobs often pay better than non-trade jobs." He believes building up local industries is a better approach. "Grow it in Oregon, make it in Oregon, add value in Oregon and ship it somewhere."
Wyden says the list of affected products hasn't yet been finalized, nor has the group of countries impacted, which he says raises more questions than answers. "The challenge, with what we know about the President’s trade policy is it’s not clear it deals with the central issue for Oregon workers and Oregon companies: oversupply in China." He believes there can be a place for tariffs in the country’s trade policy, "Well targeted, balanced tariffs should be one of the tools in the toolbox."
Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after President Trump's announcement:
“If we don’t make things in America, we won’t have a middle class in America. There’s no doubt that we can and should do more to combat countries that are unfairly undercutting the market for American products — but we need to do it in a thoughtful and targeted way. Unfortunately, President Trump’s tariffs seem to be more about creating a talking point for the President than putting in place a thought-out strategy to grow American jobs and the American economy.
“There’s a better way to fight back against countries that dump products and that undercut our workers with rock-bottom labor laws and environmental standards. In the coming days, I will introduce the Level the Playing Field Act of 2018, and show what fighting back against unfair trade practices should look like.”