Ernst seeks reversal on Chinese import tariffs

Source: Ripon Advance

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) implored the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to reassess whether the trade tariffs imposed on Chinese imports are really the right move for America considering the country’s backlash against the United States.

“As the United States continues bilateral trade negotiations with China and the Section 301 Committee prepares for its public hearing on May 15, I write to urge you to reconsider the tariffs on Chinese imports and pursue policies that enhance American competitiveness, rather than reduce our access to foreign markets,” Sen. Ernst wrote in a May 10 letter to USTR Robert Lighthizer.

The senator pointed out in her letter to the ambassador that the increased tariffs imposed by the United States on China already have proven detrimental to American exports.

“Recent data from the United States Department of Agriculture revealed that Chinese importers have curbed shipments of soybeans and cut orders of pork,” she wrote. “The data also showed that sales of soybeans have fallen from 8.3 million bushels during the first week of April, when the trade dispute began, to just 290,000 bushels during the final week of April.”

Sen. Ernst, a member of both the U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee and the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, serves as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities.

In that role, she wrote, “I recognize the complex threats we face when protecting our nation’s intellectual property, both for our economy and security” and she agreed that President Donald Trump should “increase pressure on China to change its ways.”

“At the same time, the United States should foster more dialogue to expand international market opportunities for our country’s goods and agriculture around the globe and use these contributions to reduce the trade deficit,” Sen. Ernst wrote.

The United States can’t afford to lose access to the “increasingly important” Chinese market, wrote Sen. Ernst, especially with “South American countries like Brazil and Argentina eager to gain and aggressively pursue global market share for key agricultural products.”

Additionally, the senator said she’s concerned that the administration’s action could harm global supply chains and subsequently produce higher consumer prices.

“Experiencing a sixth consecutive year of declining farm income, hardworking farmers and ranchers are already struggling to remain profitable and make ends meet,” Sen. Ernst wrote.

She concluded that the Trump administration “must pursue trade policies that make the U.S. a partner of choice for nations that may otherwise turn to less free and democratic nations for trade.”