DES MOINES, Iowa – Republican Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa said on a call with the press on Wednesday morning that while she does not like the tariffs, the Chinese, not the President, is to blame for the snag in negotiating a trade agreement with China.

Ernst responded to a question about President Donald Trump’s threat of new tariffs on Chinese products after the Chinese pulled back from trade negotiations.

“This has been a tough situation because the tariffs have been so bad for Iowa industries, as well as, our farmers. So, no, I don’t support the tariffs, but this is what is happening behind the scenes – China is now walking back on what they had previously agreed to and that is why the President threatened the additional tariffs so we can’t allow China to continue to walk all over us as they have done in the past,” she said.

“I am not happy with tariffs, but you know what? The Chinese cannot continue to do this to us,” Ernst added.

Ernst said that she is hopeful. She reported that President Trump said the Chinese delegation still planned to come to the United States to work on negotiations. She admitted that his threat of tariffs has worked in the past.

“I think that the President every time he has done this he throws the threat of tariffs out there it does tend to bring other countries to the table,” Ernst said.

She also added that she understands the President’s and trade delegation’s frustration. “China is a bad actor and in this instance, we need to stand up against China,” Ernst stated. “We are all frustrated with this, but we are not going to sign a deal when they are walking back on some key components of the trade deal.”

Those components include language related to the theft of intellectual property and forced technology transfers.

She said that farmers need to hold on, and acknowledged that should the trade deal fall through they will be unhappy with the President. She noted that it is the Chinese who are not holding up their end of the deal and farmers want a good deal.

“They don’t want us signing off on a deal that doesn’t do us any good and actually harms us. It’s China we should be pointing the finger at, not the President,” Ernst added.

Listen to the press call below:

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