tariffs

Will Tariffs Hurt the Bourbon Boom?

Jun 13, 2018

Today is “National Bourbon Day.” While fans of this uniquely American whiskey are sure to celebrate with a glass of their favorite brand, a dark cloud is gathering over the industry.

Bourbon, which can only be made in the United States under very specific rules, has skyrocketed in popularity in particular abroad. However, bourbon now finds itself entangled with politics surrounding international trade.

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An Ohio State study finds that some Ohio farmers could lose more than half of their annual income if a threatened 25 percent tariff goes into effect on soybeans and corn sent to China.

John Minchillo / Associated Press

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who was the U.S. trade representative for the George W. Bush administration, is expressing concern over the steel and aluminum tariffs President Trump plans to impose on Canada

Senate Republicans worried about a possible trade war with U.S. allies Canada, Mexico and the European Union are pushing a plan to give Congress the final say over some trade actions.

A group led by Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker plans to unveil legislation this week to limit when President Trump, or any future president, could invoke national security as a reason for taxing foreign imports. It is a rare effort among congressional Republicans to use legislation to limit controversial policies embraced by Trump.

Updated at 9:14 a.m. ET

Mexico is putting tariffs on imports of U.S. steel and farm products — including pork, cheese, apples and potatoes — as it hits back at the U.S. for the Trump administration's tariffs on steel and aluminum products from Mexico, Canada and the European Union.

Signed by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, the decree also suspends the country's preferential tariff treatment of the U.S. It was published in Mexico's official gazette on Tuesday.

Updated at 3:18 p.m. ET

China is cutting tariffs on vehicles from the U.S., but the biggest benefits could go to German automakers — and Tesla, the American electric-car maker.

Chinese President Xi Jinping signaled in a speech last month that the tariff cut would be coming. The foreign ministry confirmed it Tuesday: Tariffs will drop from 25 percent to 15 percent for imported cars. Tariffs on imported auto parts will fall to six percent.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is meeting with Chinese officials this week to discuss trade tariffs. President Trump announced a tariff on Chinese steel and aluminum and the Chinese responded with tariffs on American products. It’s escalated to at least $50 billion dollars in tariffs for each country. The extra charges on Chinese steel may please Ohio steelworkers but it worries Ohio farmers. 

Tom Trout of Hickory Tree Farm in Medina County walks through his garage by several 8-wheel-drive John Deere tractors and other equipment.

Updated at 1:01 p.m. ET

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and other top U.S. trade officials ended a round of talks in Beijing on Friday, failing to secure large goals that ranged from cutting the trade imbalance by $200 billion by the end of 2020 to stopping China from targeting U.S. technology and intellectual property.

Both sides say the talks will continue with quarterly meetings.

Evan Vucci / Associated Press

Midwest iron and steel industry leaders say they are disappointed by the Trump administration’s delay on a decision about which countries will face new import tariffs. President Trump has postponed until June a decision on which countries will be subject to new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. The decision had been due May 1.

The Trump administration has decided to hold off on imposing most of its tariffs on imported steel and aluminum until at least June 1.

Tariffs were scheduled to take effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday on imports from Canada, the largest U.S. supplier of steel and aluminum, as well as Mexico, Argentina, Australia, Brazil and the EU.

A source familiar with the decision says the administration has reached an agreement in principle with Australia, Argentina and Brazil, which may avoid the need for tariffs against those countries altogether.

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