Iowa Senator Joni Ernst responds to Trump tariffs, cautions against hidden costs and potential for trade war

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst released a response Thursday to President Donald Trump’s proposed tariffs on steel and alumnium, which he reaffirmed his commitment to on Thursday.

For a written transcript of her comments, read below:

“Good afternoon.

“I want to quickly address the tariffs on steel and aluminum put forward by the White House today.

“As Iowans know, free and fair trade is not just a lofty Washington principle. It is at the core of Iowa’s economy and sustains our families and farms. Trade’s impacts are felt head-to-toe in Iowa.

“For example, companies like Des Moines Steel Company, which provide valuable products, made with steel, is used for everything from home and office projects to mailboxes and race cars. The “Real Steel Guys” have been in business for over two decades creating good-paying jobs that put food on the table for countless Iowa families.

“Household names like John Deere, Rockwell Collins, Vermeer, Lennox, and Arconic all share a similar story – creating jobs and economic opportunity for countless Iowans and Americans – using steel and aluminum inputs to feed their manufacturing processes.

“These are just a few examples….

“But I also urge the White House to reconsider the impact that such tariffs will have on Iowa farmers and the 88,000 farms across the state.

“For one, you cannot build a grain bin out of a paper bag or plow a field with a toothpick. You see, our farmers rely on steel and aluminum for the products and equipment that make farms work. Imported products like these are used to keep farm operations moving and making money. Higher prices on such products drastically increases the cost of doing business.


“These tariffs could also set off a brushfire of retaliation measures against American exports. Experts warn that these tariffs will cause nations like China – for example, the largest buyer of U.S. soybeans – to look elsewhere to meet their demands.

“This threat of retaliation is a reality. History has shown that retaliatory tariffs are often targeted at agriculture. Our farmers are deeply fearful, and I share their sentiment.

“With already low commodity prices, farms are barreling toward crisis. There are other countries that are ready, willing, and able to fill the food product demands of China and other nations that seek to buy U.S. agricultural exports. Iowans cannot afford a trade war.

“I couldn’t agree more when President Trump has said that the U.S. should be its own boss when it comes to driving our trade policies. But America must understand its customers and be sensitive to what drives them to buy what the United States is selling. We simply cannot afford to be the overpriced boutique when the store down the street is selling the same goods at a discount price. We will lose every time.

“I agree with President Trump on many things. I support his vision for a strong America that can compete globally. I share his heart for bringing more jobs back to American workers. These are good goals that we must work toward.

“Strong, fair trade is a step in that direction. It favors American families and businesses and is right for the United States. So I am urging the President to reconsider this proposal, not just for its impacts on Iowa, but for the negative consequences this proposal could have on rural communities throughout the nation, America’s farmers, and our national security.

“Thank you.”



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