Wyoming Senators Leery Over Tariffs; Cheney Supports President
Wyoming is landlocked, but it's not isolated when it comes to international trade including trade with Mexico.
"The more we get Wyoming's products out to the greater world, that's all new dollars coming into the state," Wyoming Business Council spokesman Tom Dixon said Wednesday.
"We're not an island, we're connected to the world as anybody else," Dixon said.
That foreign trade may be affected if President Donald Trump's proposed 5% tariff on all Mexican imports goes into effect next week in an effort to resolve the immigration issue, and Wyoming's Republican U.S. senators are skeptical of the idea.
In written statements to K2 Radio News on Wednesday, U.S. Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso did not mention President Trump by name.
"Generally I’ve been concerned about how tariffs affect Wyoming businesses and consumers and believe the Administration must consider the potential negative consequences," Enzi said.
Barrasso said Republicans want to resolve the immigration issue without hurting the economy in the process, but he said new tariffs might do just that.
Rep. Liz Cheney, however, said she supports the President's "determination to do what is necessary to keep our nation safe and our borders secure."
Dixon said foreign trade is a significant part of Wyoming's economy. Mexico is the state's 13th largest trading partner, with Canada and Brazil ranking first and second respectively.
In 2018, Wyoming consumers received goods from Mexico including household appliances, computer equipment, iron and steel, Dixon said.
The prices of those imported goods may go up if Trump's proposed 5% tariff goes into effect, and that could increase to 25% over the coming months.
On the export side, Wyoming's leading exports are petroleum, natural gas and coal, followed by general purpose machinery, Dixon said. "The top three extraction industries make up over half of what we send Mexico's way."
Sometimes countries retaliate against other countries that have imposed tariffs by imposing tariffs of their own, and that could affect Wyoming's exports.
A tariff is a tax imposed by a government on goods imported from another country. The tax is paid by the importer and that cost is absorbed by the importer and/or passed along to the consumer. The tariff is not paid by the exporting country.
Because of possible major adverse impacts on the U.S. economy, some Republican senators and business leaders have denounced the proposal.
Neither Enzi nor Barrasso appear to have been among the senators who have openly pushed back on the tariff proposal, but they still have their reservations.
Here is Enzi's statement in full:
“Generally I’ve been concerned about how tariffs affect Wyoming businesses and consumers and believe the Administration must consider the potential negative consequences. I have spoken directly with President Trump about how Wyoming industries, manufacturers, farmers and ranchers rely on trade to grow their businesses at home. I have also written to Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and the U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer expressing similar concerns. I understand there are times when tariffs might be warranted, such as for legitimate national security concerns. This is a new and developing proposal. I will continue to listen to different viewpoints and learn more about the Mexico tariff proposal.”
Here is Barrasso's statement in full:
“The border crisis is bad and getting worse. We’re at the breaking point. Republicans want to fix our broken immigration system. We need to do it in a manner that won’t harm our strong economy. New tariffs might do that."
“It’s critical that we ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). We don’t want a trade war to derail or delay it. Getting that deal done would be another victory for Wyoming. We can work constructively with Mexico to ensure the southern border is open for trade and closed for caravans.”
Here is Cheney's full statement:
“We have a humanitarian and security crisis on our southern border. Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats refuse to take necessary steps to secure our border and prevent dangerous criminals and gang members from entering our country. I support President Trump’s determination to do what is necessary to keep our nation safe and our borders secure.”