Republican Congressman Steve King says he is “uneasy” about the Trump Administration’s moves on trade.
“Where we are today is we’re in the beginnings of an all-out trade war,” King said, “and I hope and pray that it is not.”
China slapped import duties on dozens of U.S. products Monday, including a 25% tariff on pork, as a response to President Trump’s tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum. King said he had a “direct conversation” over the phone with Trump “several months ago” about the importance of trade, including the “complex negotiations” over the North American Free Trade Agreement.
“I’m uneasy about where we have gone,” King said. “I would not have initiated any of this, actually. I’ve always been working towards the most stable trade situation we can have that’s going to allow us to increase our exports of agriculture and our exports of manufacturing.”
King is hoping China concludes it needs the American market and the Trump Administration decides American consumers want cheap Chinese goods, but if neither side “backs off,” King said agriculture will be hurt “a lot.”
“This is an escalating thing that has the looks of how a trade war begins,” King said.
And King predicts a trade war will lead to fewer family farms.
“We’ve lost about half of our market value in our commodities from the peak about 10 years ago and that’s caused our producers to spend some of their equity down, especially our young guys that are trying to build that equity so they can sustain themselves through the hard times,” King said. “This is hurting them the most.”
King also said it’s ironic that since a Chinese company bought U.S.-based Smithfield Foods, pork processed in the U.S. by Smithfield will be charged the tariff.
(Reporting by Dennis Morrice, KLEM, Le Mars)