Republican Senator Joni Ernst says she’s frustrated by comments a Trump Administration official made about the impact of trade disputes. Yesterday, U.S. Trade Representative Peter Navarro said the impact of tariffs was a “rounding error” in an economy that’s the size of the United States and “much less disruptive” than news stories are suggesting.
“It’s basically a slap in the face to our farmers who are feeling the impact of the trade issue and the tariffs,” Ernst told Radio Iowa today. “For him to say it’s just a ’rounding error’ and people aren’t hurting because of the tariffs is absolutely incorrect and it is an insult to folks here in the Midwest.”
President Trump has tweeted today, saying he intends to fix “BAD trade deals.” Navarro, a top economic advisor to the president, is the author of a book titled “The Coming China Wars” and was an architect of Trump’s campaign policy statements on trade. Ernst said Trump made promises to Iowa farmers, too, and she’s urging Trump to wrap up NAFTA renegotiations and resolve the tariff fight with China as soon as possible.
“I keep reminding him how badly our farmers are hurting right now and we need these trade deals resolved,” Ernst said. “We want to come out winners, as the president has said, but I’d like to see them done sooner rather than later.”
Ernst issued a written statement yesterday, noting more than 456,000 jobs in Iowa are supported by trade and new tariffs are threatening $977 million worth of state exports.