Republican senators are voicing urgent concern over the ongoing trade war between China and the U.S. They are openly wondering what the point is of aggravating China over trade – especially as midterm elections loom.
Prices of crops like wheat, soybeans and corn and have dropped due to projections regarding the trade war that is expected to hit U.S. agricultural exports. Chinese retaliation will affect states such as Missouri, Montana and North Dakota the most.
“This is a big deal. In South Dakota we can’t afford to have that kind of loss in the markets just on speculation we might end up in a trade war,” Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said.
“My question, very respectfully, to the President is, ‘What’s your game plan? What’s your endgame on this?’ ” Rounds said. “I think the administration needs to be able to explain their logic on why they’re doing it this way and whether there’s any logic to it.”
On Monday, Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) called on Trump’s administration to establish “a solid path toward an end result in our trade negotiations with China.”
“We cannot escalate a fight between a significant purchaser of what we produce in Kansas with no real end goal,” Moran warned.
John Thune (R-S.D.), the Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference stated that he, along with his colleagues, are worried about whether the President has carefully thought his trade war strategies through.
“I don’t know that there’s a real plan or strategy in place that gets the result that they want,” Thune said. “It seems like this is, ‘OK, there’s a trade deficit, we know China cheats and we’re going to punish them.’ ”
“It seems to me there needs to be a lot of thought given to unintended consequences,” Thune further added. “My impression is that hasn’t happened.”
When asked about what Trump thought on China’s retaliation tariffs and how they would hurt the U.S. farmers, Trump said, “I wouldn’t say that’s nice.”
“These are great patriots. They understand that they’re doing this for the country,” said the President. “And we’ll make it up to them. And in the end, they’re going to be much stronger than they are right now.”
“I don’t know if we’ll have tariffs or not,” the President’s economic adviser stated.
President Trump stated that the farmers already have been “trending downward over an eight-year period”, however, because of NAFTA, the “farmers will be better off than they ever were.”
Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said that he wants to hold hearings regarding Trump’s tariff policies, but as yet hasn’t announced a fixed date for the meeting.
“My personal feeling is I wish they wouldn’t go through. I don’t think they help. I think he’s getting bad advice,” said Hatch. “I haven’t seen tariffs work in any way over the years.”
“We’ll probably have to have hearings. You can’t just ignore it,” he added.
The Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), expressed his dismay on this issue. He had met the President back in January, to stop him from implementing the tariffs, has warned about the impending impact of this trade war on the farming states.
“I don’t think tariffs are the right way to go,” Gardner said. “What we need to do is work with a coalition of nations to condemn Chinese trade practices and find a solution, but I think tariffs will hurt the very people they’re trying to help.”
“There’s time for negotiation and I certainly hope those negotiations are fruitful and that we come to an agreement where China says we’re going to stop stealing [U.S.] companies blind when it comes to intellectual theft and they agree to fair trade practices,” he added.