Chuck Grassley won't recommend the president roll back tariffs on China


Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register (IA)

Aug. 10, 2019


U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley said he won't recommend President Trump roll back tariffs on China, even with signs the trade war could run past the 2020 election.


"I haven't talked or run into any farmers who have suggested that either," said Grassey, an Iowa Republican, at the Iowa State Fair Friday.


"Farmers know that China has been cheating on international trade ever since they entered the World Trade Organization," said Grassley, adding that Chinese operatives have stolen Iowa corn so they can gain access to plant genetics.


President Donald Trump said recently Beijing is stalling trade negotiations to get past the 2020 elections in the hope it can get a Democratic president who isn't as tough a deal-maker.


“Whether the president is right about (China wanting to) go past the election, he doesn’t know that. And I don’t know it. What's going on in China, we don’t know,” said Grassley, who attended a forum on the passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, organized by Farmers for Free Trade.


Gov. Kim Reynolds told fairgoers Saturday that presidential Democratic hopefuls need to talk about where they stand on USMCA, which would replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement.


The deal will open up new markets and create new opportunities for Iowa, said Reynolds, speaking at a press conference with Jeff Kaufmann, chairman of the Iowa Republican Party, and three Iowa farmers.


Kaufmann criticized the Green New Deal, a Democratic proposal that calls for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions to net-zero over 10 years, saying it would be "extremely devastating to farmers."


Agriculture contributes 9% of the nation's greenhouse gas emissions that get trapped and warm the planet.


Grassley's office said NAFTA now supports 130,000 Iowa jobs, with $6.6 billion in goods sold to Canada and Mexico in 2017.


“We need to sell what we grow," said Ray Gaesser, a Corning farmer, at the Reynolds' press conference.


Trade disputes have depressed markets for Iowa farm products.


This week, China said it would no longer buy U.S. farm goods, after Trump accused the country of manipulating its currency.


The president said he plans to place tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods by Sept. 1. The U.S. already has tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods. China has retaliated with tariffs that have hammered Iowa and U.S. farmers.


Asked if farmers can withstand a trade war that extends beyond the elections, Grassley said...