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Dear President Trump:
As members of Congress representing the great State of Iowa, we wrote in March warning of retaliatory measures targeting our agriculture exports. We remain concerned about the impacts of these retaliatory tariffs from our major trading partners on Iowa agriculture products coming to fruition. We strongly urge you to quickly resolve our trade differences and avoid a trade war.
Farmers are currently experiencing a five-year, 52 percent downturn in our agricultural economy and these tariffs are taxes Iowa families cannot afford. Soybean futures are currently trading at their lowest in nine years and are down under $9 a bushel. Corn prices have fallen sharply since the start of June and are down more than four percent from last year. Pork futures are down as much as $18 per animal on an annualized basis. Farmers are facing tight margins and low commodity prices, which makes the latest tariffs catastrophic for Iowa’s economy.
Iowa ranks second in the nation for agricultural exports. Iowa is first in the nation in pork ($2.0 billion), corn ($1.75 billion), feed grain ($1.32 billion) and second in soybean exports ($3.11 billion). Canada, Mexico, and China are top destinations for Iowa pork, soybeans, corn, and beef. China is one of the world’s fastest-growing beef import markets and recently began buying American beef again last year. In the first six months after the ban was lifted, China purchased $31 million of U.S. beef and USDA estimates more than 1 million tons will be sent to China in 2018. The U.S. exported $24.1 billion worth of agricultural products to China in 2017.
Mr. President, these tariffs have real consequences on states like Iowa, rural communities across the nation, and on America’s farms. We encourage you to act expeditiously to save our rural economies.
Sen. Joni Ernst
Sen. Chuck Grassley
Rep. Rod Blum
Rep. Steve King
Rep. Dave Loebsack
Rep. David Young