Government

Blum concerned as Trump 'postures' on trade

Trump 'trying to make better deals for America,' he says

U.S. Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa, responds to a question during a press availability before a Monday conference in Dubuque on the opioid crisis. Blum said he is concerned about the impact a trade war will have on Iowa exports. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
U.S. Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa, responds to a question during a press availability before a Monday conference in Dubuque on the opioid crisis. Blum said he is concerned about the impact a trade war will have on Iowa exports. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

President Donald Trump’s trade policies don’t have anyone jumping out the window, according to U.S. Rep. Rod Blum, “but I’ve got the window open a little bit looking out there, which means I’m concerned.”

“I’m concerned like every farmer and producer in ag is concerned because in Iowa, we can produce it, we can grow it, we can raise it. We just need more markets for our products, not less,” Blum, a Dubuque Republican, said in Dubuque this week.

Blum expressed his concern Monday while responding to reporters’ questions at a opioid conference he was hosting in Dubuque.

He believes the president is “posturing” to get better trade deals with China and other nations.

“He’s negotiating hard,” Blum said. “I haven’t read all of our trade agreements, but I know the people that have who said we’ve signed some bad trade agreements in the past. I think President Trump is trying to renegotiate these and make better deals for America.”

He compared the negotiations to selling a used car. If the seller wants $1,000, Bum said she probably would list if for more than that to leave room for negotiations.

“I’m confident because he (Trump) is a businessman and a negotiator, we will end up with better trade deals at the end of the day. I’m confident, I’m certainly hopeful,” Blum added.

Unfortunately, he said, the posturing and negotiating is done in public.

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“We’ve just got to get through this,” Blum said. “That being said, I get that, I’d be concerned if I were in the ag community, too. I am concerned.”

Blum said he’s working Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst to share their concerns and the concerns of Iowans with the Trump administration, including USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue.

“I let the president know, and the senators let the president know, folks out here are concerned,” Blum said.

“I have my list. Top of my list is trade,” Blum said. “They know ag is important to the breadbasket states in the Midwest. One in five jobs depend on exporting in the state of Iowa, so trade agreements are vital to our employment here in addition to ag.”

Gazette reporter Michaela Ramm contributed to this report

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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