Iowa farmers and Iowa companies that depend on exports better beware of Trump’s tariff promises. His flip-flop from friend to foe with Harley-Davidson should be a warning to all Iowans not to trust his promises. Iowa Republicans are calling for patience and suggesting Trump’s regime will protect the Iowa economy. However, based on how his tariffs are punishing Harley-Davidson, Iowa Republicans need to wake up to Trump’s trade war.
American employees of the iconic Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company are the latest victims of Trump’s senseless trade war. Harley-Davidson announced this week they will be forced to move American jobs overseas in order to remain competitive.
Wasn’t President Trump just bragging a few months ago about Harley-Davidson building their motorcycles in America? In a February White House meeting with Harley-Davidson executives, Trump bragged about Harley’s U.S production.
“So thank you, Harley-Davidson, for building things in America,” Trump said in the February meeting. “In this administration, our allegiance will be to the American workers and to American businesses, like Harley-Davidson.”
The great deal-maker turned his back on Harley-Davidson employees when he started a trade war with the European Union (EU). The EU specifically retaliated to Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs by targeting EU tariffs on companies and products important to red state Republicans. The EU’s tariff on motorcycles hits Milwaukee’s Harley-Davidson headquarters in Paul Ryan’s home state. The EU also chose to place a tariff on Bourbon whiskey, a main export of Mitch McConnell’s home state of Tennessee.
Just as Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs are forcing Harley-Davidson to outsource American jobs, other manufactures will be forced to move jobs or raise prices to remain competitive. In the case of Harley-Davidson, the EU is raising their tariffs from 6 percent to 31 percent on motorcycles exported from America. Harley-Davidson says the EU tariff will raise the price of their American built motorcycles by $2,200. Harley-Davidson announced they will move some of their American jobs outside the United States as a result.
Trump has repeatedly been warned by trade, manufacturing and farm groups of the devastating consequences of picking winners and losers by imposing tariffs. The Trade Partnership predicts a loss of a net 146,000 American manufacturing jobs from Trump’s reckless tariffs.
Iowa pork and soybean farmers are suffering similar direct economic damage from Trump’s irrational trade war. China knows how to play the tariff game as well. They are also targeting Midwest agricultural states that represent Trump’s strong base of support.
The Des Moines Register was quoted internationally last week when they estimated that Trump’s tariffs will cost Iowa soybean farmers $624 million. It appears that Trump’s escalating trade war will result in more retaliation. The EU, China, Mexico and Canada are all threatening more tariffs on American products.
It seems nearly everyone in Iowa agrees that Trump’s trade war will hurt Iowans. Dimy Doresca, the director of the University of Iowa’s Institute for International Business paints a very bleak picture resulting from Trump’s dangerous trade war on Iowa.
“Because the retaliation is going to be terrible, and it will start to affect the items we use on a regular basis… you look at (the entire trade situation), Iowa is going to suffer. I don’t see any way to look at this where Iowa will come out as a winner,” said Doresca.
In addition to Iowa farmers, a number of Iowa manufacturers are warning of the increased costs for their products resulting from Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs. The list includes major Iowa employers like Winnebago, Polaris, Sukup manufacturing and Vermeer.
Time is running out and the trade war damage to Iowans is escalating. How much worse must it get before Governor Reynolds and Iowa’s Republican congressional delegation stand up and defend Iowans from Trump’s trade war madness?
by Rick Smith