Ellyn Ferguson

U.S.-China trade fight fuels uncertainty as Beijing retaliates
The new round of tariffs would mean all imported Chinese goods entering the U.S. face duties

U.S. President Donald Trump listens to a question from the media during a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, in the Oval Office on May 13, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump took questions on trade with China, Iran and other topics. Trump’s administration has moved to impose new tariffs on $300 billion of imported consumer goods from China.(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The future of U.S.-China trade talks is uncertain as the Trump administration moves to impose new tariffs on $300 billion of imported consumer and industrial goods from China, and U.S. companies prepare for higher costs of doing business.

The new round of tariffs would mean all imported Chinese goods entering the U.S. face duties imposed under Section 301 of 1974 trade legislation. In 2018, the U.S. imported $540 billion of Chinese products. The Section 301 tariffs currently apply to $250 billion in goods from China.

Higher tariffs on Chinese goods spark call for Congress to intervene
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 152

The U.S. hiked tariffs on Chinese imports and Beijing threatened to impose countermeasures. The two countries continue negotiations. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Mikki L. Sprenkle/Released)

The continuing damage to businesses and farmers from the trade stand off between China and the U.S. is a sign that Congress needs to reinsert itself into the trade policy-making process again, argues Clark Packard, a trade policy counsel at the R Street Institute, a center-right think tank. He warns that boosting tariffs on Chinese imports "has the potential to spiral out of control.'' And CQ Roll Call's Ellyn Ferguson explains where legislation currently pending in Congress stands.

A Mexican tomato beef could lead to a bigger trade battle
Florida tomato-growing groups have said a series of pricing agreements failed to ensure Mexico did not undercut U.S. growers

Tomatoes at the Common Good City Farm in LeDroit Park. The Florida Tomato Exchange and Florida Tomato Committee have said the series of pricing agreements failed to ensure that Mexico did not undercut U.S. growers. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Commerce Department is expected to decide Tuesday to end the U.S.-Mexico tomato agreement, giving Florida tomato growers a long-sought victory and fueling another potential U.S. trade dispute with its southern neighbor.

The department gave Mexico a 90-day notice in February that the U.S. planned to withdraw from the most recent agreement negotiated between the two countries in 2013 and restart an investigation into allegations by Florida tomato growers that their Mexican counterparts are selling goods below fair market prices.

Trump weighs tariffs or quotas on uranium imports
The nuclear power industry argues import limits would bring higher costs for electricity producers and force some out of business

U.S. Department of Commerce building in Washington (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump is considering a Commerce Department report on whether imported uranium ore poses a threat to U.S. national security and the domestic production of nuclear power.

The president will weigh whether to impose tariffs or quotas on imported uranium following claims by the uranium mining industry that limits on foreign uranium imports are necessary to aid a shrinking industry. The nuclear power industry, meanwhile, argues import limits would bring higher costs for electricity producers and force some out of business.

Hemp concerns and trade jitters top agriculture appropriations hearing
The Agriculture Department’s request includes cuts to research, rural housing and international humanitarian food programs

Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue takes his seat to testify during the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday, June 13, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate appropriators had trade woes and the promise of industrial hemp on their minds Thursday as they sought assurances from Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue of better times for farmers in their states.

Perdue testified before the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee on the president’s $15.7 billion request for discretionary funding for the Agriculture Department. The request is more than $4.2 billion lower than the enacted level for fiscal 2019 and includes cuts to research, rural housing, international humanitarian food programs and other areas popular with lawmakers.

Mexican official rejects Democratic effort to reopen new NAFTA
“Reopening it is as good as killing it,” said Jesús Seade, Mexican foreign affairs undersecretary for North America

American and Mexican flag fly over the Paso del Norte International Bridge on March 30, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A top Mexican official Thursday ruled out renegotiating the proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement to address Democratic concerns about labor and pharmaceutical provisions.

“Reopening it is as good as killing it,” said Jesús Seade, Mexican foreign affairs undersecretary for North America.

Challenging food stamps rule, Rep. Marcia Fudge points to Hill workers
“Even this government doesn’t pay them enough to make a living”

Rep. Marcia L. Fudge cited Hill workers in challenging a USDA rule to restrict food stamp benefits for some working poor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia L. Fudge on Wednesday challenged the Agriculture Department’s premise for a rule that would restrict food stamp benefits for some working poor, using as an example employees who clean Capitol Hill office buildings or serve lawmakers food in the cafeterias.

“Even this government doesn’t pay them enough to make a living,” said Fudge, who chairs the Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations, at a hearing on a proposed USDA rule that would restrict states’ ability to issue waivers for some able-bodied adults without dependents from food stamp time limits and work requirements.

7 Republicans voted against naming a post office after the late Rep. Louise Slaughter
One of Slaughter’s known GOP nemeses, New York Rep. Chris Collins, did not vote

Members of Congress, including then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer at memorial service for the late New York Rep. Louise Slaughter in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall on April 18, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Seven Republicans voted against a House resolution Tuesday to rename a post office building in Fairport, New York, after the late Rep. Louise Slaughter and her husband Bob, who is also deceased.

Slaughter, a New York Democrat who was the first woman to chair the House Rules Committee, died last year at the age of 88 after being hospitalized for a fall in the middle of her 16th term in Congress.

Trump’s border threats complicate trade pact talks
Replacement for NAFTA already faces assortment of challenges on Capitol Hill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is suggesting the USMCA may need enforcement changes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Trump administration’s sales pitch for a new trade deal with America’s northern and southern neighbors has a long way to go, and the president’s threat to close the U.S. border with Mexico does not appear to be helping matters.

President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday amid renewed concern he may seek to shut down the flow of traffic between the two countries, a move that would by definition make free trade impossible.

Trump, House Republicans meet to line up support for new NAFTA
The USMCA would replace NAFTA, if simple majorities in the House and Senate approve it.

President Donald Trump, flanked from left by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Thune, R-S. Dak., Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., stops to speak to the cameras following his lunch with Senate Republicans in the Capitol on Wed. Jan. 9, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with a number of House Republicans later Tuesday as the White House steps up efforts to increase support for the proposed trade agreement to replace NAFTA.

The afternoon meeting comes after Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer courted House Democrats earlier this month with closed-door meetings on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. It would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement if simple majorities in the House and Senate approve it.