Grassley Downplays Some Concerns About Tariffs

Apr 6, 2018

Iowa’s senior U.S. Senator is downplaying some of the concerns over proposed tariffs on Chinese imports. . Farmers are bracing for a potential trade war which could threaten corn, soybean and hog sales. While Sen. Chuck Grassley acknowledges the impacts could hurt farmers, he says it’s too early to be too worried.

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R - IA) speaks with reporters at the federal courthouse in Cedar Rapids.
Credit Kate Payne

Sen. Grassley says retaliatory tariffs are a slippery slope, and a trade war would be dangerous to farmers. Some producers say the threats to soybean, corn and hog production could push them into bankruptcy.

"You gotta know what you’re doing and you gotta be careful doing it. Because if it goes wrong, agriculture is going to be one of the first hurt by it,” Grassley said.

The Iowa delegation has repeatedly lobbied the White House to proceed with caution and avoid enacting the tariffs. Grassley says he will continue that work. But speaking to reporters in Cedar Rapids Friday, he tried to temper some of those worries.

“By the way these…problems aren’t there yet because it takes 60 days for this to kick in. And we hope there are negotiations between us and China in these 60 days that solves some of these problems so we don’t have to worry about it,” Grassley said. 

A volatile market would suggest even the threat of tariffs can take their toll. But while Republicans are expressing concerns about a potential backlash among conservative voters, Grassley said those fears shouldn’t motivate trade decisions.

“I think what you have to do is you got to do the right thing for the country and not worry about the politics of it,” Grassley said.

Nonetheless the U.S. Department of Agriculture is reportedly already working on a emergency aid plan to support farmers, if the tariffs do go into effect.