Grassley: Farmers, ranchers shouldn't bear the brunt of retaliation against Trump tariffs

Grassley: Farmers, ranchers shouldn't bear the brunt of retaliation against Trump tariffs
© Greg Nash

Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGraham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks Iowa Democrat drops bid to challenge Grassley after death of nephew Bipartisan senators press FBI, inspector general for changes following Nassar case MORE (R-Iowa) warned against the harm Trump's tariff actions could have on farmers and ranchers, insisting the administration knew that China would retaliate by specifically targeting the U.S. agriculture sector.

“The United States should take action to defend its interests when any foreign nation isn’t playing by the rules or refuses to police itself. But farmers and ranchers shouldn’t be expected to bear the brunt of retaliation for the entire country," Grassley said in a statement. 

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"It’s not fair, and it doesn’t make economic sense. The Administration knew that if it imposed tariffs on Chinese goods, China would retaliate against U.S. agriculture. I warned President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves MORE as much in a White House meeting in February," he continued. 

"Today shows that’s exactly what happened. If the federal government takes action on trade that directly results in economic hardship for certain Americans, it has a responsibility to help those Americans and mitigate the damage it caused."

Grassley's comments were in response to Beijing's announcement that it was placing 25 percent tariffs on imports of U.S. soybeans, airplanes and automobiles in a package that totals about $50 billion worth of U.S. goods.

The announcement came on the heels of the White House unveiling on Tuesday a $50 billion tariff package on China, with 25 percent tariffs being leveled on imports of Chinese electronics, shoes, furniture and other goods.

Beijing had already announced on Sunday another tariff package targeting U.S. pork and fruit in response to Trump's move to increase duties on imported steel and aluminum.

Despite the back and forth, Trump said on Wednesday the U.S. was not in a trade war with China. 

 

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny PerdueSonny PerduePerdue on possible run for Georgia governor: 'I'm concerned about the state of our state' OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Supreme Court rules that pipeline can seize land from New Jersey | Study: EPA underestimated methane emissions from oil and gas development | Kevin McCarthy sets up task forces on climate, other issues The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Georgia election day is finally here; Trump hopes Pence 'comes through for us' to overturn results MORE said Trump reassured him on Tuesday that farmers would not be hurt by an ongoing trade dispute with China.

"If these tariffs actually come into play, it's going concerning to our farmers. But I talked to the President as recently as last night. And he said, 'Sonny, you can assure your farmers out there that we're not going to allow them to be the casualties if this trade dispute escalates. We're going to take care of our American farmers. You can tell them that directly,' " Perdue said in a statement.