Ernst Urges Trade Representative to Reconsider Harmful Tariffs

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

WASHINGTON – As bilateral trade negotiations continue with China and the Section 301 Committee prepares for its public hearing, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry and Senate Committee on Armed Services, submitted a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to be included in the record urging the Ambassador to reconsider tariffs on Chinese imports that pose a serious threat to both our agricultural economy and national security, and have already negatively impacted U.S. exports.

The Senator stated that, “As Chairman of the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I recognize the complex threats we face when protecting our nation's intellectual property, both for our economy and security” and agreed that “the President is right to increase pressure on China to change its ways.” However, Senator Ernst believes “the United States should foster more dialogue to expand international market opportunities for our country’s goods,” reducing the trade deficit, rather than imposing tariffs that have already proven dangerous to our exports.

Senator Ernst urged Ambassador Lighthizer and the Trump Administration to “reconsider these tariffs and pursue policies that enhance our competitiveness, rather than reduce our access to foreign markets.”

Senator Ernst has continually cautioned the administration on the negative effects of tariffs on Iowa’s agricultural economy and our national security.

Read Senator Ernst’s full letter here or below.

 

The Honorable Robert E. Lighthizer

United States Trade Representative

600 17th Street, NW

Washington, D.C. 20508

 

Dear Ambassador Lighthizer:

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.

As Chairman of the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I recognize the complex threats we face when protecting our nation's intellectual property, both for our economy and security.

Furthermore, I believe the President is right to 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.

Already, we are seeing the danger these tariffs pose on the United States' exports. Recent data from the United States Department of Agriculture revealed that Chinese importers have curbed shipments of soybeans and cut orders of pork. 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.

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. Furthermore, the Administration's action could hurt global supply chains and lead to 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.

It's my hope that the Trump Administration will reconsider these tariffs and pursue policies that enhance our competitiveness, rather than reduce our access to foreign markets. The 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. I look forward to continuing the dialogue about these concerns as the Administration negotiates toward a solution with China.

Sincerely,

 

Joni K. Ernst