Today, Congressman David Young (R-Iowa) and U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) along with U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Congressmen Steve King (R-Iowa), Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa), and Rod Blum (R-Iowa) sent a letter to President Trump urging him not to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum that could harm Iowa’s farmers and manufacturers.

“Tariffs are taxes paid by hardworking Iowans and will lead to retaliation from other countries that will hurt Iowa farmers,” Young said. “Iowans sent me to Congress to protect our state and our economy. These tariffs could lead to a trade war which would be especially devastating to the agriculture economy and all of Iowa.”

Members of the Iowa delegation stated concerns that sweeping new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum “could set into motion a chain of retaliatory measures, hurting Iowans from the family farm to the family-owned manufacturing plant. Tariffs are a tax on families and hardworking Iowans cannot afford a trade war.”

The members emphasized Iowa’s “diverse industries which play a vital role in supporting not only Iowa’s economy, but the entire U.S. economy. Iowa is the second largest agricultural export state, and shipped $10 billion of exports abroad in 2015 alone. Strong, fair trade favors American families and businesses and allows them to export their goods, which is critical for the farmers, manufacturers, and insurers in our state.”

Read the full text of the letter here or below.

March 7, 2018

The Honorable Donald J. Trump
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Trump: 

As Members of Congress who represent Iowa, we understand the importance of free and fair trade to Iowa’s strong agricultural economy. We urge you to carefully consider and analyze the economic costs and benefits of your plan to impose new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

We are concerned such a move could set into motion a chain of retaliatory measures, hurting Iowans from the family farm to the family-owned manufacturing plant. Tariffs are a tax on families and hardworking Iowans cannot afford a trade war. 

Iowa is comprised of diverse industries which play a vital role in supporting not only Iowa’s economy, but the entire U.S. economy. Iowa is the second largest agricultural export state, and shipped $10 billion of exports abroad in 2015 alone. Strong, fair trade favors American families and businesses and allows them to export their goods, which is critical for the farmers, manufacturers, and insurers in our state.

We are extremely worried the proposed tariffs will have a negative impact on our agricultural economy. Many experts have warned tariffs will cause corresponding retaliation by our trading partners. This is concerning because the easiest target for retaliation is our agriculture exports. For example, the United States enjoys a large agricultural trade surplus with China and recently began exporting U.S. beef, which is a good indication of China’s interest in expanding agricultural imports. Iowa’s major exports to China include soybeans, corn, and pork – 60 percent of Iowa’s soybeans go to China. As farmers have already faced several years of low commodity prices, any hit to demand would be devastating to their financial situations.

Besides the impact such tariffs could have on Iowa agricultural exports, imported steel and aluminum products are used to keep farm operations going while manufacturers use these products as inputs in their industrial processes. While we recognize there is excess global capacity for steel and aluminum, the overall impacts must be part of the administration’s calculus when best deciding how to engage.

We urge you, Mr. President, to reconsider this proposal given the consequences this will have on states like Iowa, rural communities throughout the nation, and on America’s farms.   

Sincerely,

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