A trade war between the United States began last week after the Trump administration officially imposed tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods. In response, the Chinese government immediately responded, imposing $34 billion in retaliatory tariffs on American goods such as soybeans and pork.
President Trump has previously said that if the Chinese government responded to the tariffs he ordered, he would increase tariffs to $500 billion of goods, the total value of Chinese imports. Such a move would be met with further and more sever tariffs from China.
In addition to China, Trump has also threatened tariffs on the rest of our largest trading partners, Canada, Mexico and the European Union. Like the tariffs on Chinese goods, these moves have led to retaliatory actions.
The tariffs on soybeans and pork will hit Iowa particularly hard. Mexico and China are the two biggest markets for U.S. pork in the world. The United States exports $1.5 billion in pork to Mexico and the Chinese market purchased $1.1 billion in U.S. Pork last year. China accounts for nearly 60 percent of the global soybean trade, and about one of every three rows of U.S. soybean production. It’s been estimated that Iowa farmers stand to lose up to $624 million because of the tariffs on soybeans alone.
Iowa is the number one in pork production, number one in production of ethanol, and number two in soybean production.
During the 2018 legislative session, Iowa Republican lawmakers refused to join others and send a strong bi-partisan message to the Trump Administration about the economic harm that would come to Iowa producers because of tariffs.