WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), Chairman of the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, issued the following statement regarding the promise of retaliatory tariffs by the Chinese government in anticipation of U.S. tariffs on technology-related products:

“Soybean farmers are perhaps the most vulnerable to Chinese retaliation as nearly one in every three rows of soybeans grown in the U.S. is exported to China – valued at $14 billion every year. Already, soybean prices have dropped dramatically since China’s promise to slap a 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans, among other commodities and goods. Although China has a growing appetite for American agricultural products, its plan to retaliate on soy, beef and pork will have a damaging effect on Iowa’s farmers and the state’s economy.

“There is a real danger that increased tariffs on U.S. exports will harm Iowa producers and undermine the rural economy. The administration’s action could hurt global supply chains and may lead to higher consumer prices. Hardworking Iowans and American farmers and ranchers are already struggling to make ends meet.

“I recognize the complex threats we face when protecting our nation’s intellectual property both for our economy and security. As the President’s National Security and National Defense Strategies state, strengthening our relationships abroad and fostering new strategic partnerships are critical to protecting U.S. national security and interests.

“The President is right to increase pressure on China to change its ways. At the same time, the U.S. should foster more dialogue to expand international market opportunities for U.S. goods and agriculture around the globe and use these contributions to reduce the trade deficit.

“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 spoke with the President today directly about these issues and look forward to weighing in on these concerns as the administration enters the public comment phase for their proposed tariffs.”