Montana Public Radio

tariffs

Brigitta Miranda-Freer
Courtesy of Brigitta Miranda-Freer

Imagine pulling out a new board game's instructions and discovering that the normally skinny pamphlet runs thousands of pages and spells out the rules of the game from soup to nuts. That's what an international trade agreement looks like: it's comprehensive, it's years in the making, and millions of people's livelihoods depend on it.

Some Montana lawmakers are applauding the U.S.-China trade agreement signed Jan. 15, saying it’s a big win for the state’s agricultural producers. Critics say a trade war with the world’s second largest economy should not have happened in the first place.

Montana could be caught in the spillover effects when China levies higher tariffs on U.S. products.

It’s another step in the ongoing trade war between China and the United States.

Last year, tariffs nearly knocked out Montana’s wheat exports to China.

The market has been less than stellar since, according to farmers in the state, which includes Lyle Benjamin, President of Montana Grain Growers Association.

Montana farm field.
Parker Beckley / Missoula Grain and Vegetable Company

Montana’s senior Senator says the Trump administration’s ongoing tariff disputes are hurting Montana farmers.

During his monthly press call, Democrat Jon Tester characterized the Trump administration’s growing trade war as, “Our country’s self-inflicted problem that really doesn’t seem to have an end in sight.” 

House for sale.
(PD)

Today we’re taking a look at housing prices in Montana. In our last story, we reported on how tariffs on Canadian and Chinese building supplies are driving up prices for new homes in Montana.

But there appears to be some downward pressure on prices for existing homes.

“Well, so things are starting to change,” says Brint Wahlberg, of the Missoula Organization of Realtors.

Wahlberg says the local median sales price is still holding strong at close to $290,000.

We’re taking a look at housing prices in Montana. Looking first at the market for new homes, they’re getting more expensive.

"The tariff combined with natural disaster just made the cost of lumber rise sharply,” says Ryan Frey, the president of the Missoula Building Industry Association.

The tariff he’s talking about is a 20-percent tariff on Canadian softwood imposed by President Trump last December. 

Baucus Optimistic About New Trade Deal With Mexico

Aug 27, 2018

President Trump’s announcement of a trade deal with Mexico sounds like good news for Montana farmers. So says former Montana Senator Max Baucus, now co-director of an advocacy group called Farmers for Free Trade.

Baucus says the 25-year-old NAFTA treaty with Mexico and Canada has generally been good for Montana ag producers. He says he doesn’t know the details of the U.S. Mexico agreement that the President today announced would replace NAFTA, but Baucus says a new trade agreement is generally a positive.

Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Matt Rosendale meets with the Montana Grain Growers Association in Great Falls, MT, August 21, 2018.
Corin Cates-Carney

Republican Matt Rosendale says Montana farmers stand with him in supporting President Trump on trade issues. But Montana grain trade executives he spoke to Tuesday were unsure if Trump’s hard line stance on trade will end up helping their industry.

Wheat field.
(PD)

Sen. Jon Tester and the president of the Montana Grain Growers Association both spoke in Congress Wednesday about negative effects they say President Trump’s trade policies are having on Montana farmers.

Sen. Steve Daines.
Courtesy photo

U.S. Senator Steve Daines says one of the main points he and other Republican members of Congress expressed to Russians during a visit to that country last week was, "Don’t interfere in our elections."

Daines returned from his trip to Russia last Wednesday. During the trip, Daines said he was told by the United States Ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman, that US - Russia relations are at a post-Cold War low.

Pages