Like soybean farmers, Boulevard Brewing Company is concerned that President Donald Trump’s trade policies could have an adverse effect on its business, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill said Friday.
McCaskill, D-Missouri, held a private roundtable with Boulevard representatives at the brewery. At a news conference afterward, she again raised alarms over Trump’s decisions to impose tariffs on imports from China and the European Union.
She said Boulevard representatives told her the aluminum tariffs could raise their prices for beer cans. Duties on steel could make it more costly to acquire new equipment.
“Here at Boulevard, the concern is that their increased costs in aluminum are going to be passed on, eventually, to consumers, which raises the price of beer,” McCaskill said.
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Soybean farmers have been worried China’s retaliatory tariffs will cut into their business with the country, a major trading partner with the U.S.
On Wednesday, China threatened to impose tariffs on another $16 billion in U.S. goods, retaliating against the U.S. threat to do the same.
McCaskill’s Boulevard stop came hours after the Missouri Farm Bureau endorsed her opponent, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, a Republican.
“Josh Hawley has continuously proven his leadership and dedication to the people of Missouri by taking on ‘the big and the powerful,’ but even better, he has proven he is dedicated to protecting our farms and family businesses,” said Blake Hurst, the organization’s president.
The Missouri Farm Bureau’s release mentioned Hawley’s litigation to roll back Obama-era water regulations, but made no mention of its concerns about trade tensions.
In a statement, Hawley said Trump was right “to try to get better trade terms for America and Missouri.”
“I’ve said this throughout the process: we’ll judge these tactics by the deal (Trump) gets,” Hawley said. “I am against anything that hurts Missouri farmers, and I’ve been in talks with our agriculture community about this.”
Echoing concerns voiced by U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, McCaskill said Missouri farmers could lose markets if its normal trade partners start buying goods from other countries. Those markets might then be hard to get back.
McCaskill wasn’t surprised, however, that the Missouri Farm Bureau endorsed Hawley.
“The Farm Bureau endorsed my opponent six years ago, and he had never voted for a farm bill, and he had said that women had a way of magically not getting pregnant if they were actually raped,” McCaskill said of Todd Akin, whose comments provoked a national firestorm. “And they still endorsed him.”
McCaskill said she told the bureau in her opening remarks that she knew they wouldn’t endorse her.
“But I have a habit of going places I’m not very popular because I think I need to show respect and listen, so I wanted to go there and answer their questions,” McCaskill said.
McCaskill has a low rating with the American Farm Bureau, too. According to its scorecard, she votes with the organization less than 40 percent of the time.
Hawley said he was honored to receive the endorsement.
“Agriculture is the pride of our state and the heart of our way of life,” Hawley said in a news release about the endorsement. “Missouri farmers not only feed our people, they power our economy and feed the world.”