Listen Live

WASHINGTON, D.C.–The tariffs on steel and aluminum are working, said Ted McKinney, who is now U.S. Dept. of Agriculture under secretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs. McKinney is former Indiana Dept. of Agriculture director.

McKinney also told Inside Indiana Business he believes the tariffs could expire because of negotiations with countries affected by the tariffs.

“Applying tariffs, we’re sending a message that says this overproduction has got to stop,” said McKinney. “No matter what you might want, we, as a U.S., will remain at a certain level, basic, in steel and aluminum production.”

McKinney said he believes countries are getting that message, even though some people would say that the tariffs are counter-intuitive.

“A funny thing happened on the way to the marketplace-they’re working. Our industry is coming back. For sure, there are some higher prices for some people who buy steel, but we’re seeing production slow in other parts of the world or at least they’re not gonna have that unfettered access to the U.S.”

McKinney said his mind has been changed in the last ten days.

He said the intellectual property tariffs imposed on China are different. He said no matter how trade between the U.S. and China is, the country has been cheating its way through business.

“My world is agriculture. Take any seed germplasm, by any of the major companies. It’s all over there. It’s all been stolen,” said McKinney. 

He said he believes the president is trying to “fair-size” trade to free, fair and reciprocal trade.

“There’s good news. I think we’re gonna see some of these steel and aluminum tariffs sunset. We will be better off than we were before. And, that just leaves China as the rather difficult one to continue working with.”

PHOTO: Thinkstock/Maki Shmaki