Iowa farm leaders and manufacturing industry leaders have hit the panic button as Trump’s tariffs jeopardize the state’s economy. Trump’s trade war is quickly escalating as China, Mexico, Canada and the European Union have already retaliated or promised to punish Iowa’s agricultural producers.
Iowans realize that even though they may not be directly involved in agriculture, the Iowa economy is closely linked to farmers’ income. The farm crisis of the 1980s caused a financial catastrophe that rippled throughout the Iowa economy.
Meanwhile, Governor Reynolds claimed after her April agriculture meeting with Trump that he was listening.
“The president listened to our concerns,” Reynolds says. “He understands that for our farmers to be successful, we need to grow, not shrink, our markets.”
No, Governor Reynolds! Trump may have listened, but he answered by greatly ramping up the trade war last week. He fired another shot at China by promising another $50 billion in tariffs on high-tech products. He followed that by saying he’s looking at another $100 billion on other Chinese products. Last week, Trump expanded his tariffs by attacking our best allies by imposing steel tariffs on Canada, Mexico and Europe.
While Reynolds defends Trump, Iowa State University estimates Trump’s trade war has already cost Iowa pork producers $560 million as China retaliated with a 25 percent tariff on pork. China is threatening a 25 percent tariff on soybeans as well. Trump’s trade war is quickly spiraling out of control and Reynolds makes excuses as Trump bullies our customers and allies.
Reynolds admitted last week in Mason City that in addition to Iowa agriculture, Iowa manufacturers are already feeling the pain of Trump’s tariffs.
“Really, our manufacturers are already seeing increases in steel and aluminum, so they’re already feeling the impact of the tariffs,” she admitted.
It’s clear Reynolds either isn’t capable or willing to challenge Trump as he is rapidly destroying Iowa’s relationship with our best agricultural customers. Iowa voters will be evaluating her management skills as we approach the November election. Iowans’ most basic management expectations for their governor is to champion and defend Iowa employers and Iowa jobs. Reynolds’ timid and inadequate response as Trump tariffs ravage Iowa agriculture and manufacturing is failing that basic management test.
However, it appears it’s more likely her fear of challenging the Republican Party. She is willing to throw Iowa agriculture under the bus rather than criticize Trump and the Republican Party.
Following her April White House listening meeting, she defended the Trump line on trade. She admitted trade wars were wrong and farmers would suffer but then defended Trump for creating the crisis.
“While some disruption may be necessary and part of the negotiation process,” she said.
Iowans don’t see this as “some disruption,” they see it as an all-out war on their livelihood. Reynolds’ defense of Trump as he annihilates Iowa’s agriculture and economy should disqualify her for reelection.
Listen to Iowa agricultural leaders’ reaction, both Democrats and Republicans, to Trump’s tariff war on the state’s economy. They don’t show any of Reynolds’ uncertainly in forcefully condemning Trump’s war on Iowa.
Craig Hill, president of Iowa Farm Bureau, forcefully expressed the dangers to Iowa agriculture. In a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative, Hill leaves no doubt about the stakes in play for Iowa.
“Retaliatory tariffs against U.S. agricultural exports would have a catastrophic impact on Iowa’s economy, farmers and rural communities,” Hill wrote.
The President of the Iowa Soybean Association, Bill Shipley, cautioned of the long term harm of Trump’s trade war on Iowa.
“If allowed to take hold, the tariffs could jeopardize the ability of U.S. farmers to do business with China for generations to come. Trade wars are a lose-lose, never a win-win,” warned Shipley.
Iowa’s current Republican Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig echoed that sentiment.
“These new trade barriers, if enacted, will create additional hurdles to farmer profitability that has already been in decline the last four years,” he says. “The recent tariff actions and possible additional increases add to the economic uncertainty being felt across the state.”
Many of America’s allies have repeatedly warned Trump that taking the world down the path of trade wars is a dead end. Bruno Le Maire, France’s finance minister, summed up Trump’s trade war as a risky battle.
“Global trade is not a gunfight at the O.K. Corral,” Le Maire said. “It’s not about who attacks whom, and then wait and see who is still standing at the end.”
The whole world sees the Trump trade war as a dangerous mistake. So, why is Reynolds still defending it?
by Rick Smith