Iowa’s congressional delegation is sending a unified message to President Trump: reconsider the threat of imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. The group has co-signed a letter to the president, warning Iowa’s farmers and manufacturers would likely be the first harmed by the tariffs or embargos other countries impose in reaction.
Congressman David Young, a Republican from Van Meter, said he hopes the administration does a cost-benefit analysis.
“Iowa’s major exports to China are soybeans and corn and pork and I think about 60 percent of Iowa soybeans go to China,” Young said during an interview on KMA Radio, “and so I worry about retaliatory effects.”
Tariffs ultimately raise the cost of the goods Americans buy, according to Young.
“Trade wars are not good,” Young said. “Nobody wins in a trade war.”
Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican from Red Oak, said trade issues are “critical” to Iowa’s economy.
“We do support free and fair trade,” Ernst said during an interview with Brownfield Ag News. “It’s really the foundation of our agricultural economy.”
Ernst said she “appreciates” the president’s goal of putting more Americans back to work in the steel and aluminum industries.
“But we have to understand the impact to other industries such as agriculture, those that are in the agriculture manufacturing business with equipment, making grain bins,” Ernst said. “I mean there are just so many industries that we’ve heard from that will be hurt significantly if these tariffs are imposed.”
Five Republicans and one Democrat represent Iowa in the U.S. House and Senate. All six of them signed onto the letter. President Trump recently suggested in a tweet that a trade war would be easy for the U.S. to win. During the 2016 campaign, Trump often criticized existing free trade deals, like the North American Free Trade Agreement and Trump promised to get tough with China.