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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMarch 8, 20182min693

 

Free market-minded Millennial Policy Center’s offers its own quickie course on tariffs and trade — the upshot being that the two don’t mix — and pitches the point through its latest effort in video spoofery.

“ScamWow: The Tariff Towel!” — a play on the old “ShamWow” late-night infomercial — mocks the superficial allure of tariffs by hawking it as a wash rag. Along the way, the “commercial” scores points and lands blows about how tariffs actually backfire by starting trade wars, limiting markets for U.S.-made goods, and by driving up the price of imports.

The schtick as well as the polemic are right up the alley of Millennial and its youthful president/impresario Jimmy Sengenberger. The next-gen policy shop/advocacy group aims to advance classical conservative thought among Sengenberger’s Millennial demographic — even if it means jousting with a Republican president.

As Millennial points out in a press release this week, the video is being released, “at a tenuous time for U.S. trade relations on the global stage, as the Trump Administration has staked out a more protectionist position on NAFTA’s reauthorization, including threats to undo the agreement, as well as support for tariffs and other barriers to entry.”


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 13, 20175min278

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner issued a statement today welcoming the end of a 13-year Chinese ban on U.S. beef imports — reminding voters he’s all in for international trade that benefits his home state even if his fellow Republican in the White House is a trade hawk:

“As Chairman of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity, I am continuing to urge the Trump Administration to explore new trade opportunities for America’s agriculture community in Asia, and this is an important step forward … Colorado’s farmers and ranchers will see positive economic gains from this decision, and everyone involved with finally getting the ban removed should be applauded.”

Gardner’s office also noted in the news release:

Gardner has long been a supporter of opening up new trade opportunities for Colorado’s farmers and ranchers. He recently spoke on the Senate floor about the agriculture crisis in America and explained how an increase in trade will benefit Colorado’s agriculture community.

Trump administration Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the agreement with China this week reopening that country to America’s favorite red meat; the ban was imposed by the Chinese in 2003 following a case of mad cow disease.

While everyone welcomes a new market for selling American goods abroad, free trade of course is a two-way street. Its supporters, like Gardner, generally advocate keeping U.S. markets open, too, so U.S. consumers can benefit from cheaper goods. Yes, even Chinese goods. That’s probably where Gardner and the administration don’t always see eye to eye.

Last month, Gardner voted against confirming Trump’s pick for U.S. trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, who is a longtime critic of free trade. Gardner at the time contended Lighthizer’s policies, “could hurt Colorado’s farmers and ranchers.” Gardner’s reference today to his own efforts “to urge the Trump Administration to explore new trade opportunities” seems tacitly to acknowledge his differences with the White House.

The administration has been more antagonist than enthusiast on free trade in general, and Perdue and other administration officials chalked up this week’s breakthrough to the Trump team’s get-tough, “fair trade” stance. That was Lighthizer’s spin:

“The President’s firm commitment to fair trade that benefits the United States has made this new U.S. beef export opportunity possible.  I encourage China and all countries to base their requirements on international standards and science.  America’s ranchers are the best producers of beef in the global economy, and they can compete and succeed wherever there is a level playing field.”

At any rate, Colorado’s cattle ranchers should be beaming. The U.S. is the world’s largest beef producer, and Colorado ranks 10th among the states in total number of beef cattle.

According to a spokesman with the Colorado Department of Agriculture, the top four current markets for Colorado beef exports are Canada, Mexico, Japan and South Korea. In 2016, he said, Colorado totaled $423 million in beef exports outside the U.S.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMay 12, 20172min284

One of the state’s most prominent voices for agriculture weighed in today on the side of Colorado U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner — and free trade — following his vote Thursday in the U.S. Senate against Robert Lighthizer as the Trump administration’s U.S. trade representative.

The Colorado Farm Bureau, reached for comment, provided this statement from President Don Shawcroft:

“Senator Gardner has proven yet again his commitment to the success of the families that make up Colorado agriculture, our state’s second-largest industry. Agriculture’s success or failure increasingly depends on international trade, and Colorado agriculture is no different. We look forward to working with Mr. Lighthizer and Senator Gardner to ensure Colorado’s farm and ranch families find continued success in trade with our regional partners and the rest of the world.”

It not only was a show of solidarity with Gardner but also a roundabout acknowledgment that Lighthizer — a trade lawyer, Washington veteran, onetime member of the Reagan administration and vocal critic of free trade — stands squarely on the protectionist plank of the Trump platform. It’s a facet of the Republican president’s agenda that runs afoul of traditional GOP support for business and free markets; it also arguably clashes with the interests of a lot farmers and ranchers ever in search of new markets abroad.

As we noted here shortly after the vote, Gardner was one of only three Republicans to vote no because he said the nomination was bad for Colorado agriculture. Lighthizer was confirmed by Gardner’s peers from both parties 82-14.

 



One of the General Assembly’s leading voices for Colorado agriculture, state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg tells ColoradoPolitics.com’s Joey Bunch that President Trump “will help” expand opportunities for the state’s ag exports to Pacific Rim nations despite the administration’s decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. Sonnenberg, a Sterling Republican, says, “…It’s vital to our national security to […]

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