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Local GOP concerned about Trump and trade

Nate LaMar talks to members of the Henry County Republican Club about the impact President Trump trade decisions are having on local firms like Draper.

By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

Nate LaMar has traveled to many parts of the world in his role as an international businessman for Draper.

Recently during a presentation to the Henry County Republican Club, LaMar shared why he continues to have a “world” of concern about U.S. President Donald Trump’s tariffs and trade policies.

Even though Trump is a Republican president, LaMar and GOP leaders who attended the meeting believe the man who proclaims “deals are my art form” doesn’t know what he’s doing – or, more importantly, who he is hurting.

And that hurt extends to Henry County.

LaMar said both local farmers and industry continue to be negatively affected by Trump policies.

“Due to the imposition of the Trump tariffs and the retaliation we’re getting from China now, Indiana farmers are suffering,” LaMar said. “One Henry County dairy farming family recently went bankrupt. It’s very sad.”

“The Farm Services Agency currently has loans at 5.6 percent,” LaMar continued. “I don’t think we’re going to see the FSA loans as they were in the early 1980s, when they were as high as 16 percent. But the combination of rising interest rates and the tariffs right now is making life very difficult for farmers in the United States, and here in Indiana in particular.”

Henry County Republican Chair Todd Hiday, who also works at Draper, said countries are retaliating to Trump’s tariffs with actions of their own.

“Mexico has increased its purchase of soybeans 100 percent from Brazil and has cut back equally from soybean purchases from the U.S.,” Hiday said. “Washington state’s apples are now on China’s ‘no-buy’ list, because of Trump tariffs.”

LaMar said for Indiana, it’s a double-whammy because of what tariffs are doing to manufacturing.

“The prices Draper has to pay for steel have risen 26 percent since September of 2017,” LaMar said. “The prices we have to pay for aluminum have risen 31 percent during that same time period.”

LaMar said he believes President Trump doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.

“He’s a real estate investor,” LaMar said. “He doesn’t understand manufacturing or exporting. I think he’s trying to fulfill campaign promises, playing up to a constituency who thinks he’s going to bring manufacturing jobs back. What he doesn’t understand is that 86 percent of the jobs that disappeared since NAFTA came into effect are due to automation. I’m quoting Michael Hicks, the Ball State economist. So only 14 percent of those jobs can be attributed to foreign competition.”

“Unfortunately those jobs that the president has promised, they’re not coming back,” LaMar said.