Iowa officials seek resolution to trade crisis

Source: Quad-City Times

A range of Iowa Republican political leaders and business officials moved Friday to urge the Trump administration to resolve the trade dispute with China, citing worries over the state's economy.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, along with 10 leaders in the agriculture committee wrote to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lightizer on Friday, urging him to "resolve dispute with China in a way that protects farmers, manufacturers and our state’s economy."

The officials said a third of Iowa's $5 billion soybean crop is exported to China. Already, there have been reports China has stopped buying U.S. soybeans.

"Agricultural products grown and raised here in Iowa and across the heartland have unjustly been placed at the center of this trade dispute, creating significant concerns and market uncertainty," the officials said in the letter.

Also joining Reynolds and Naig were Craig Hill, president of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, as well as officials representing corn, soybean, biofuel, pork, dairy, turkey, cattle and agribusiness groups.

Also Friday, Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, pressed the administration to reconsider tariffs on Chinese imports.

"With South American countries like Brazil and Argentina eager to gain and aggressively pursue global market share for key agricultural products, China is an increasingly important market from which U.S producers can't afford to lose access," she said.

The pressure comes ahead of a May 15 public hearing sponsored by the U.S. Trade Representative on the $50 billion list of goods first targeted in March.

China responded to the Trump administration's move with its own threat of tariffs, and the two sides got into a tit-for-tat series of escalating threats.

A study commissioned by the Consumer Technology Association and the National Retail Federation said Chinese tariffs on $50 billion worth of goods would cost Iowa about 1,800 jobs. Illinois would lose about 2,300 jobs, the study said.