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Missouri businesses describe harmful effects of trade war

As this trade war continues, one thing is clear—hundreds of Missourians have already lost their jobs because of the Administration’s trade policies, and thousands more are at risk if we don’t reverse course. 

I recently held a roundtable in St. Louis with manufacturing and agriculture leaders from every corner of our state—from Wentzville and Willard to Jefferson City and Joplin. Together, they represented the diversity and strength of Missouri’s economy. I wanted to hear directly from them about how they’re being impacted by our ongoing trade war.

There was no sugarcoating it—according to them, Missouri’s farmers, ranchers, and manufacturers are being hit hard.

At the roundtable, I heard from the Past President of the Missouri Soybean Association. He told me that Missouri agriculture has already lost more than $200 million in earnings since the trade war began. One in three rows of Missouri soybeans goes to China, so the new Chinese tariffs on soybeans mean we’re looking at thousands of Missouri jobs in jeopardy.

When I asked participants at the roundtable about the bailout the Administration is proposing, they told me the same thing I’ve been hearing from farmers all across Missouri—they want access to markets, not a government handout. 

Missouri manufacturing isn’t being treated any better.

I heard from several manufacturers that they cannot get the specialized kind of steel from a domestic source on the timeline they need it, so they have no other choice than to get it from a foreign producer—now more expensive because of the tariffs—which translates to higher prices for consumers. So Missouri consumers then have to pay more for these products as a result of the Administration’s trade policies. Some customers may just find it cheaper to start buying from foreign producers who can now undercut Missouri’s manufacturers.

I want Missourians to get a good deal on trade, and I want to go after Chinese cheaters without doing more harm to Missouri’s businesses and consumers. Instead, Missouri jobs are already being lost, and they won’t just come back overnight. Even if all the tariffs disappear tomorrow, it could take decades to reestablish markets for Missouri’s exports. The longer this trade war continues, the longer it could take for Missouri to recover.

That’s why I’m doing everything I can to fight for Missouri’s farmers, ranchers, and manufacturers. I’ve been asking the Administration to cut the red tape and make the tariff exemption process more transparent and more efficient. I’ve supported a bipartisan effort to make sure there is greater Congressional oversight of tariff decisions and to include experts in the process, so we prevent unnecessary tariffs and harmful trade policies. And I’ve repeatedly called on the Administration to end this misguided trade war.

My only priority in Washington has always been to go after what’s best for Missourians—and that includes making sure that Missouri businesses and workers get a fair shake when it comes to trade.

Claire McCaskill

Claire McCaskill

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