(Shenandoah) -- Iowa Congresswoman Cindy Axne is reserving judgment on the latest development concerning President Trump's trade war with China.
The White House announced Tuesday the president's latest tariffs on China would be delayed until December 15th in order to protect consumers. The announcement comes one week after China announced they would no longer purchase U.S. agricultural products as a result of the recently-announced tariffs. Speaking on KMA's "Morning Line" program Wednesday morning, Axne says it's unclear what the delay means to Iowa farmers.
"I'm not sure if it means anything," said Axne. "It still doesn't mean if China is going to halt its purchases of U.S. ag products. They haven't stated that they would. I think that's the president's intent, is to delay those tariffs here in the U.S., so that China won't stop buying U.S. ag products. But, we've yet to see that happen."
While Axne says she's explored ways to ease the tariff crunch on Iowa's ag economy, the president must sign off on those bills. And, the West Des Moines Democrat says Trump has given no indication that he would support those bills.
"He (Trump) created this problem," she said, "and it's up to him to fix it. I want Iowans to know that. We do not need to be in a trade war like this. We always need to negotiate trade to make sure it works well for the people in our country, and definitely for Iowans. But, we need to go in with an understanding that we've got to get that done in a relatively short timeframe, and not put Iowa farmers on the hook as negotiations continue to drag on."
Axne says farmers she's talked to are fed up with the continuing trade dispute with China.
"Our prices are very low," said Axne. "We've lost 25% of our soybean market. We've lost massive amounts of, you know, pork and corn markets. We're not sure where we'll be making up those markets once these trade agreements are finalized. You know, these are countries that are buying for their futures, and for their citizens. They don't want to participate with an uncertain vendor, because they're reliant on their products. And so, when they go and form agreements with places like Russia and Brazil for corn, they're going to keep those agreements in place for a while. We're going to have a tough time overcoming that."
At the same time, the congresswoman says producers are anxious over other developments.
"Of course, we've got the USMCA that needs to be ironed out still, even though NAFTA is in place," she said. "But, all of this uncertainty is causing a lot of difficulty with the markets, forcing prices down, and impacting the bottom line for anybody that is related to our agriculture industry stream--which starts with our farmers, but goes all the way down to folks selling pickup trucks, people who are trying to keep local diners open. There's a big impact on rural communities in general."
Axne was scheduled to appear Wednesday morning at a town hall meeting in Emerson sponsored by local farm bureau members, and tour farms in Malvern and Farragut. Other stops were planned in Shenandoah, Villisca and Corning. You can hear the full interview with Cindy Axne on our "Morning Line" page at kmaland.com.