Senator Lisa Murkowski was in Soldotna Wednesday to speak at the Alaska Municipal League conference. Addressing borough and city leaders from around the state, she touched on a wide range of issues, from cannabis to infrastructure to the ongoing trade war with China.
Tariffs imposed on products coming to and from China have had a very real, and generally negative effect on Alaskans, especially in the seafood industry.
KDLL: Do you think the president really understands what tariffs are and what they do?
Murkowski: “I’m not going to try to unwrap his mind. I think that he as well as some in his administration feel that tariffs are a tool for negotiation. I think that they are a very blunt tool and I think that we are seeing that play out, again, in ways I mentioned; very worrisome for the seafood industry, these small timber producers, for the ag community. Now, with this latest round with the potential application as it relates to electronics and the like. So I think he is meeting with a level of resistance from many of us who veiw tariffs in a different way. I think he understands them and perhaps thinks that a blunt instrument is the way to deal with China. China is a nation that clearly has demonstrated they’re not afraid to stand up, push back, and we’re seeing that. I just saw a headline today that there are some who are speculating we could be headed towards a recession, nationwide, because of the impact of what we’re seeing from these tariffs, so I’m not a fan.”
KDLL: As we talk about the Arctic opening up and we see China investing so much in infrastructure across the world, does our trade war diminish our standing in having a leadership spot as the Arctic opens up?
Murkowski: “China is not afraid or shy to insert themselves into different parts of the world to demonstrate a posture of strength. We’re certainly seeing that in the Arctic, we’re seeing it in areas of the Pacific. I think the Department of Defense is clearly paying attention to that. How the issue and trade and tariffs plays into all of this, I think it’s still unfolding.”