Montanans See Increased Costs, Expect Losses Due to Tariffs, But Short-Term Suffering Part of “Negotiation Process” for Rosendale
Helena – Montanans in the ag industry have expressed concern over and over again about the short-term and long-term effects of the White House’s trade war.
Many of them are unsure about the long-term impacts of tariffs.
A fourth generation farmer and president of the Montana Grain Growers Association said the tariffs have depressed profits already, and emphasized that a large cause for concern is the long time it took to build global markets and that “tearing them down has a pretty big impact on the future of [her] kids’ ability to farm.”
East Coast developer Matt Rosendale, though, doesn’t seem to be listening. Rosendale told reporters that Montana farmers and ranchers he talked to “were very confident” that the tariffs would help with trade agreements in the long term, and that “they were just concerned about the short term effect.”
That’s not exactly what happened. While those same Montana farmers and ranchers Rosendale talked to were concerned about the short-term effects, they weren’t saying they were confident about the long-term like Rosendale claimed.
Montana Public Radio reported that some folks Rosendale heard from were “not so sure that the ongoing trade dispute would lead to long term benefits for Montana’s agriculture producers.”
One farmer disputed Rosendale’s claim about the long-term benefits of a trade war and said, “I wouldn’t say I’m confident in it.” And while Montanans are “hoping” tariffs will benefit farmers in the long term, they are currently “weathering Trump’s tariff storm,” and feeling “some immediate hardships from tariffs” enacted by the White House.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, $26 million of Montana’s exports are jeopardized by the “emerging trade war” Rosendale supports and more than 140,000 Montana jobs depend on global trade.
The Chamber called U.S.-imposed tariffs “nothing more than a tax on American consumers and businesses” and said retaliatory tariffs will make goods more expensive, and cause lost sales and job losses in America.
That doesn’t seem to matter to Rosendale, who was recently asked by a Bloomberg reporter what he’d do for farmers suffering in the short-term due to the White House’s tariffs. Rosendale did not answer the question and instead said “that is all part of this negotiation process.”
Rosendale was also criticized by a Montana farmer and former president of the National Association of Wheat Growers and of the Montana Grain Growers Association for his “unwillingness to stand up to these tariffs on China.”
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