Tennessee industries are worried about trade, but not ready to challenge the president

Jun 19, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  Two of Tennessee’s largest trade groups are sticking with President Donald Trump, in spite of serious concerns about his trade policy.

The president again on Monday ratcheted up his trade threats, suggesting an additional $200 billion in tariffs on China.

Credit tnfarmbureau.org

WMOT spoke this week with representatives from the Tennessee Farm Bureau and the Tennessee Manufacturer’s Association. Both expressed fears their members have about the possibility of a global trade war. But neither was willing to criticize the president’s trade initiatives.

Lee Maddox with the Tennessee Farm Bureau says the state’s farmers are now suffering from a perfect storm of getting less for their products, while paying more to put a crop in the ground.

When asked about the president’s policies, Maddox said the Bureau has received assurances from the Trump Administration that farmers will eventually benefit from Trump’s negotiations.

“In the end, we’re going to be expanding our export markets and it’s gonna benefit not just the farmers here in Tennessee and across the country, but it’s gonna benefit all Americans.”

Bradley Jackson with the Tennessee Manufacturers Association says his group is making sure the administration and lawmakers understand his members will be hurt by a trade war.

“As it goes into effect you’re going to see prices rise. You know, our ability to compete around manufacturing we think is…will be challenged with this.”

But in spite of member concerns, Jackson was also unwilling to question the president’s trade policies.

Both men made a point of saying trade uncertainties are making it hard for their members to plan for the future which essential to both farming and manufacturing.

You can hear the full interviews Mr. Maddox and Mr. Jackson by using the links included below.