Iowa’s U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst responded to China’s second wave of tariffs targeting U.S. commodities, including soybeans, which were announced in retaliation to the Trump Administration’s tariffs on Chinese products.

Grassley, who is a lifelong farmer, member of the Senate Agricultural and Finance Committees, and chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement:

We need to protect U.S. intellectual property and American competitiveness. Foreign theft of intellectual property, forced technology transfers, discriminatory licensing restrictions and other unfair practices harm U.S. innovation and affect every sector of our economy, including agriculture. On my recent congressional delegation trip to China, I urged Chinese government officials to rein in unfair trade practices and policies, including the theft of U.S. intellectual property, which have adversely impacted American businesses. I’m concerned that my urging fell on deaf ears.

The United States should take action to defend its interests when any foreign nation isn’t playing by the rules or refuses to police itself. But farmers and ranchers shouldn’t be expected to bear the brunt of retaliation for the entire country. It’s not fair, and it doesn’t make economic sense. The Administration knew that if it imposed tariffs on Chinese goods, China would retaliate against U.S. agriculture. I warned President Trump as much in a White House meeting in February. Today shows that’s exactly what happened. If the federal government takes action on trade that directly results in economic hardship for certain Americans, it has a responsibility to help those Americans and mitigate the damage it caused.

I will be addressing these issues through the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over trade policy. I’ll also be addressing these issues as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is responsible for patent, copyright and trademark policy.

Ernst, who chairs the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Chair of the Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy of the Senate Agriculture Committee, issued the following statement:

Soybean farmers are perhaps the most vulnerable to Chinese retaliation as nearly one in every three rows of soybeans grown in the U.S. is exported to China – valued at $14 billion every year. Already, soybean prices have dropped dramatically since China’s promise to slap a 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans, among other commodities and goods. Although China has a growing appetite for American agricultural products, its plan to retaliate on soy, beef and pork will have a damaging effect on Iowa’s farmers and the state’s economy.

There is a real danger that increased tariffs on U.S. exports will harm Iowa producers and undermine the rural economy. The administration’s action could hurt global supply chains and may lead to higher consumer prices. Hardworking Iowans and American farmers and ranchers are already struggling to make ends meet.

I recognize the complex threats we face when protecting our nation’s intellectual property both for our economy and security. As the President’s National Security and National Defense Strategies state, strengthening our relationships abroad and fostering new strategic partnerships are critical to protecting U.S. national security and interests.

The President is right to increase pressure on China to change its ways. At the same time, the U.S. should foster more dialogue to expand international market opportunities for U.S. goods and agriculture around the globe and use these contributions to reduce the trade deficit.

It’s my hope that the Trump administration will reconsider these tariffs and pursue policies that enhance our competitiveness, rather than reduce our access to foreign markets. The administration must pursue trade policies that make the U.S. a partner of choice for nations that may otherwise turn to less free and democratic nations for trade. I spoke with the President today directly about these issues and look forward to weighing in on these concerns as the administration enters the public comment phase for their proposed tariffs.

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