In North Dakota, a major soybean-producing state, Representative Kevin Cramer, a Republican who is running for the Senate, sounded restrained this past week when he urged Mr. Trump to “take a more measured approach” to China. By Friday, he sounded panicked.
“I contacted @SecretarySonny to urge him to use every tool in the Farm Bill, including Commodity Credit Corp programs, to protect ag producers from effects resulting in potential trade actions against China,” he wrote on Twitter, referring to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.
A trade war with China could be particularly devastating to rural economies, especially for pig farmers and soybean and corn growers. Nearly two-thirds of United States soybean exports go to China.
Iowa’s senators — Joni Ernst and Charles E. Grassley, both Republicans — have called on Mr. Trump to reconsider. In a statement, Ms. Ernst cited the “real danger that increased tariffs on U.S. exports will harm Iowa producers and undermine the rural economy,” and she said she had spoken directly with the president about it.
While some farmers and lawmakers have expressed hope that Mr. Trump’s threats are merely a negotiating tactic, administration officials insisted this past week that was not the case.
“There is the potential of a trade war,” Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said in an interview with CNBC. “There is a level of risk that we could get into a trade war.”
“Trump is not just using tariffs as a negotiating card. He said that to me,” Mr. Kudlow told reporters on Friday.
Right Thing To Do
Supposedly, China will do the right thing, just because it's the right thing to do.
By that logic, the US would remove all tariffs and subsidies and China would do the same.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock