White House Fights Battles In Trade Wars And Small Refinery Exemptions

Aug 23, 2019  | 4 min  | Ep4501

The tariffs imposed on goods imported into the United States are not paid by countries like China but they are paid by the people who purchase those goods. The president acknowledged his Chinese trade policy might cause some economic pain and then, in a Friday morning Tweet, ordered all U.S. companies to find an alternative to China. The news put pressure on Wall Street and the Dow finished the day down by nearly 600 points.

Paul Yeager has the details.  Contact: Paul.Yeager@iptv.org

As France prepares for the members of the G-7, and their protestors, a country not part of the contingent threw a wrench into the global financial machine. In response to recent threats by President Trump, the Chinese government will impose $75 billion in highly targeted tariffs. On September 1, if the U.S. duties are imposed, China will add 5 percent to the price of imported U.S. soybeans and another 10 percent to U.S. beef and pork. On December 15, another 10 percent would be applied to U.S. wheat, corn and sorghum. Trump retaliated via Tweet Friday saying he would raise tariffs on already taxed $250 billion worth of goods to 30% on October 1st. 

As the crops in the fields in question mature, the White House faced another set of problems. At least two White House meetings focused on the backlash from last week’s reports of another round of small refinery exemptions. The President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association Geoff Cooper sent a tart-tounged letter to the EPA saying in part…

 “Such a crass statement is entirely at odds with the facts and demonstrates a woeful lack of understanding about the actual marketplace implications of EPA’s decision to approve SRE petitions…”

The RFA went on to add 2018 domestic ethanol consumption fell from 2017 levels, the first decline year-over-year in 20 years. And ethanol’s blend rate fell for the first time ever in the same time period.

Battle lines are being drawn between renewable fuel and oil industry states. Letters from elected officials on both sides of the aisle were sent to the EPA laying out reasons to support their point of view.

North America’s Building Trades Unions wants the EPA to stay the course citing RIN prices dropping from 90 cents in November of 2017 to 11 cents in recent days has allowed for some refineries to stay in operation and keep union employees on the job.

The president of NABTU urged the Trump Administration to continue lowering RFS requirements which they believe would help the president protect every manufacturing job. 

Before gaining the party’s nomination, Donald Trump campaigned on the issue of biofuels as well making campaign trail promises as far back as January of 2016.

January 19, 2016: Donald Trump, Then Republican Candidate for President: “The RFS, the Renewable Fuels Standard, is an important tool in the mission to achieve energy dependence for the United States. I will do all that is in my power as President to achieve that goal.”

Following his election, no less than two events in Iowa alone were held on expanding E15.

Those on the campaign trail seeking their party’s nomination saw an opportunity to present their ideas on the topic this week.

Joe Biden, Democratic Candidate for President: “Those waivers are a gigantic mistake. We should not be exempting, we should be insisting that these major oil companies in fact meet the criteria that is set.”

Beto O’Rourke, Democratic Candidate for President: “I would not hand out these waivers. The waiver process has been absolutely abused by President Trump, both the letter and the spirit of that law and the intent to take more gasoline and carbon based fuel off of the market and out of our air and replace it with what we're growing right here in Iowa.”

For Market to Market, I’m Paul Yeager.

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