Iowa GOP Senator Joni Ernst argued Sunday that farmers were seriously hurt by the ongoing trade war between the United States and China.
“But as we have heard from our farmers, they do want us to find a path forward with China. The tariffs are hurtful right now, but the President will continue negotiating. We hope that we can get a deal soon,” Ernst told CNN‘s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”
The senator stressed that the current situation was extremely difficult for farmers, noting that “one in five jobs in Iowa is tied directly to trade” and that most of those jobs are in “the farming sector.”
Ernst further expressed skepticism that a trade deal between the world’s two largest economies would be struck soon, although she noted that she would like to see that happen.
“The President has asked those farmers to hang on just a little bit longer. It is tenuous, it is hurting in the Midwest. It’s hurting all over the country with the tariffs, but at the same time we do have to get China to the table,” she said, adding that China’s practices of stealing intellectual property and forced technology transfers had to be halted.
Ernst acknowledged that that was hurting the American economy and threatens its national security, but that the President’s praise of farmers won’t help them pay the bills. “But we will see in the upcoming months how long we can sustain,” she continued.
American farmers are the most affected group in the months-long trade war, which seems to only be escalating further.
Earlier this month, the two countries announced new tariffs on each other’s imports, a move which threatens to hit U.S. farmers even harder. However, the Trump administration has announced another $16 billion in funding to help farmers most affected by the tariffs.
President Donald Trump, who approved the aid package, will likely address it later in the week.