Trade is getting pushed to the top of the agenda for Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus). Katko says unfair trade practices are hurting businesses and taking away jobs in central New York.
The Republican says it’s happening on a couple of fronts -- from other nations dumping heavily subsidized products on the world market so American products can’t compete, to Canadian protectionist policies that have make it difficult for central New York dairy farms to sell their product.
Ryan Elliott of Byrne Dairy says some farms simply end up dumping milk in the ground because there is such a milk surplus.
"Oftentimes it won’t even make it to the plant because we don’t have the capacity or the market for it,” said Elliott.
Elliott says trade should be treated as a door that swings both ways.
Katko says he’s pushing for the Trump administration to revamp the nation’s trade policy, and enforce trade laws in place as well as continue investigations into steel and aluminum dumping. It’s something Katko says has been ignored.
"Certainly in the last administration they didn’t pay enough attention to it. We have to pay more attention to it. Yes it’s a global economy, but it also has to be a fair economy.”
Katko is optimistic that the Trump administration is taking the issue seriously. Katko says along with dairy farmers and producers, the steel and aluminum industries in central New York have been gravely impacted by unfair trade practices.
"All they want is a remotely level playing field. They don’t have that right now in a lot of sectors of the economy. That’s what this president is trying to work on right now, and quite frankly, it’s probably what put him in the White House.”