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Rep. Jim Jordan voices concern on tariffs

By Thomas Gnau • Jun 8, 2018 at 8:00 AM

U.S. House Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, has concerns about the implementation of — and response to — the Trump administration’s recent tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

Despite being one of President Trump’s staunchest allies on most issues, Jordan voiced his concerns Monday in an interview with Dayton Daily News editors.

“I was one of the individuals who signed the letter to the president saying ‘Let’s go with a targeted approach to the biggest offender in this whole area, which is of course China,’” Jordan said.

The recent tariffs are aimed primarily at Canada, Mexico and the European Union, key allies and trading partners. At least Mexico and Europe have promised to retaliate against the measures.

It’s that pledged retaliation that worries some American businesses and farmers. And some worry about how more expensive metals will affect the price of autos, airplanes and appliances, all of which are made in Ohio.

“Our district — we’re typical Ohio,” Jordan said. “We make things and we grow things.”

Jordan represents Ohio’s 4th Congressional district in West Central Ohio, including Norwalk and the northern part of Huron County. Willard and the rest of southern Huron County fall in the 7th district, which is represented by Holmes County Republican Bob Gibbs.

“When you start thinking about corn and soybeans and stuff, you start thinking about West Central and North Central Ohio,” Jordan said.

“As an ag(riculture) and manufacturing district, we’re concerned,” he added. “This needs to be done right because there is going to be retaliation.”

Jordan sees a “debate” within the White House on the wisdom of the tariffs. He says he is “pretty close” to President Trump and speaks with him often.

Advocates for the tariffs say domestic steel production has fallen by 20 percent over the past decade, while the steel industry has cut nearly 50,000 U.S. jobs since the year 2000.

“Taxes are down, the economy is growing, unemployment is 3.9 (percent), the lowest it has been in 20 years, ISIS is backpedaling, (Neil) Gorsuch is on the (Supreme) Court … by anyone’s definition, that is a darn good year and a half,” he said.

But he added: “I’m a little bit concerned about the tariff-and-trade thing. But we’re going to have to sort of let this play out.”

Asked if the imposition of tariffs is a potential administration misstep, Jordan said: “The short answer is: We don’t know yet.”

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©2018 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)

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