Farmers concerned about possible trade war - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Farmers concerned about possible trade war

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THOMPSONVILLE -- The possibility of a trade war between the United States and other countries concerns Southern Illinois farmers.

"Well, my first thought is it scares me to death," said Larry Miller, a Thompsonville farmer.

Increased competition from Argentina and Brazil, rising expenses and lower commodity prices have already made their jobs harder in recent years.

"There's a lot of challenges out here in agriculture right now and so you really don't want to see anything else to cause you to stay awake at night," said Miller.

More sleepless nights could be in his future, if the U.S. winds up in a trade war.

President Donald Trump wants to slap a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum.

The president says it's about putting America first.

"You know, when we're behind on every single country, trade wars aren't so bad," said Trump. "When we're down by $30 billion, $40 billion, $60 billion, $100 billion, the trade war hurts them doesn't hurt us. So we'll see what happens. We're going to straighten that out and we'll do it in a very loving way. In a loving, loving way. They'll like us better and they will respect us much more."

Larry McClerren with the Franklin County Farm Bureau says if other countries retaliate against the U.S., as they've promised to do, it would make it more difficult -- and expensive -- for American farmers to get their crops into vitally important markets.

"Most everything that's grown in this area probably leaves this country," said McClerren. "We do not need a trade war."

McClerren and Miller said Trump appears to be fulfilling a campaign promise.

"He said he was going to look at what he believed to be unfair trade relationships with foreign countries and he's definitely doing that I guess," said McClerren.

McClerren said he wants the president to know that decisions he makes makes impacts all Americans, and to consider that before taking action.

On Wednesday, the White House announced Mexico, Canada and other countries may be exempted from the tariffs under national security 'carve-outs.'

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