Senator Ernst: Farmers Need Trade Deals, Not Tariffs

Following China’s decision to impose 25 percent tariffs on U.S. goods in response to the United States’ announcement levying tariffs on Chinese imports worth $50 billion, Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) released the following statement on the escalating trade dispute:

 

“Farmers need trade, not aid.  These tariffs are nothing more than a tax on Iowa farm families and the escalating trade war is putting the livelihoods of our rural communities in the crosshairs.

 

“With farmers facing increased financial pressure from low commodity prices and high production costs, it’s becoming harder and harder for producers to turn a profit.  These aggressive trade actions will continue to have damaging consequences, including an impact on our commodity prices and farm futures, and increasing anxiety among the agricultural and business communities in Iowa.

 

“With China vowing to retaliate, farmers, ranchers and rural communities stand to lose the most. And, while I recognize and support President Trump’s desire to hold China accountable – this should not be done at the expense of rural America.

 

“China is already investing more in other countries to supply their growing demand for agricultural products. We should focus on access to new markets and completing new trade deals, to provide farmers certainty.  We should also focus on reducing the trade deficit, rather than imposing tariffs that have already proven dangerous to our exports.”

 

Background:

On Monday, June 18, the administration moved to identify $200 billion in additional imported goods from China to be penalized with 10 percent tariffs.  This follows the announcement on June 15, 2018, by the Chinese Commerce Ministry that it will respond to $50 billion of U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports by targeting U.S. exports with its own retaliatory tariffs starting on July 6, 2018.  The $50 billion in Section 301 tariffs announced by the Administration only complicate the U.S.-China trade relationship and further put U.S. producers at risk of permanently losing market access to China. Chinese tariffs target U.S. agricultural exports, including soybeans, corn, poultry, beef and pork.

 

On the day the $50 billion tariffs were announced, the top article on the front page of The Des Moines Register, “China tariffs on U.S. soybeans could cost Iowa farmers up to $624 million” read:

 

U.S. and Iowa agriculture is caught in the crossfire, with farmers selling $14 billion in soybeans to China last year, its top export market . . . China already has smacked farmers with an additional 25 percent tariff on pork, and Mexico plans a 20 percent tariff on ham and pork shoulders.

 

Those moves could cost Iowa pork producers $360 million over the year, an ISU economist estimates, less than initially calculated, thanks to some pork price recovery.