Trump travels to Iowa amidst a tariff war


President Donald Trump meets with reporters as he leaves the White House in Washington DC on May 30, 2019.

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

President Donald Trump will travel to Iowa Tuesday to try to limit the political damage caused by the tariff exchanges that have marked the heart of the United States.

The state of Hawkeye has expired – at least briefly – after the White House decided not to escalate its trade conflict with Mexico, Iowa's second largest export market. But the damage caused by the economic war between the President of the Republic and China in Iowa has led Trump to take steps to strengthen state support in anticipation of his bid for re-election in 2020 .

Trump will visit a renewable energy facility in Iowa Tuesday afternoon before heading to a state GOP fundraiser. The events follow his administration 's decision last week to allow year – round sales of E15 fuel, a blend with a higher concentration of ethanol. The increase in sales of E15 will not only help ethanol producers, but will also boost Iowa corn demand.

Trump will have more than he wants to promote in Iowa, a rotating state that President Barack Obama has won twice before Trump won in 2016. He signed Thursday a disaster relief bill that will come assisting areas devastated by floods. (Trump's opposition to sending extra relief funds to Puerto Rico has resulted in several months' delays in law enforcement).

At the end of May, the Trump administration also announced plans to distribute $ 16 billion in assistance to farmers affected by tariffs.

"Is the administration concerned about Iowa? I hope they are," said David Oman, a consultant who was chief of staff of two Republican governors of the United States. Iowa and co-chair of the state's GOP.

Farmers are patient … for the moment

Iowa is particularly vulnerable to shooting in Trump's trade war. It ranks not only among the top US producers of soybeans and pork – items hit by China's retaliatory tariffs – but also relies on free trade with Mexico and Canada. Damage to state farmers can affect manufacturers and consumer spending.

Trump's visit to Iowa on Tuesday shows the willingness to limit the damage caused by his trade policy – especially since Democratic presidential candidates are invading the state before the first caucus of his country in February.

Trump won the state and his six electoral votes of about nine percentage points in 2016. But his popularity in the state has dropped from the peaks achieved before the inauguration. In May, 42 percent of registered voters in Iowa approved the work Trump does, compared to 54 percent who disapproved, according to a Morning Consult survey.

But nothing indicates that the main supporters of the president have abandoned it with the expansion of the trade war. In March, a survey of the Des Moines Register revealed that 81% of registered Republicans in Iowa approve of Trump's work – a situation identical to that of the December 2018 poll.

Oman said the farmers of Iowa had been "surprisingly patient" while Trump was trying to conclude a trade deal with China. While noting that Iowa had applauded the change in ethanol rules, he described the aid program as "ideal best-in-the-short term solution" for farmers damaged by tariffs. customs.

"How long will they stay patient?" It's hard to understand, hard to know, "he said.

Democrats especially avoid trade talks

Only a few Democratic presidential candidates have tried to take advantage of Trump's trade policy. Most did not directly address the rates in the state. Instead, they focused on issues such as health care, infrastructure, the consolidation of large farm businesses and the fight against climate change to limit floods in Iowa.

Former Beto representative O 'Rourke – who represented a border region of Texas tributary of trade with Mexico – criticized Trump's rates more often than most of its competitors. In a CNN column last month highlighting his talks with farmers in Iowa, O. Rourke wrote: "China is not paying the price for this senseless trade war, we are."

Former Vice President Joe Biden will also attack the President's pricing policy when he travels to Davenport, Iowa on Tuesday.

"American farmers were crushed by [Trump’s] tariff war with China. Nobody knows it better than Iowa, "says Biden, according to remarks prepared for delivery shared by his campaign.

Trump could still end the trade crisis in the Midwest long before the November 2020 elections. His administration hopes to conclude a trade deal with China in the coming months. An agreement could include an increase in purchases of agricultural products by Beijing.

Hope of an agreement, fears for the future

But the president's trade policy could still create uncertainty for farmers in the future. In an interview with CNBC on Monday, Trump said that "tariffs are a nice thing," suggesting that he could continue to roll them out. He thinks that tariffs on Chinese imports will force Beijing to conclude a trade deal.

Read more: Trump plays a risky game by strengthening tariffs

The president also left the door open to address his 5% threat on all Mexican imports if the southern neighbor of the United States does not curb migration to the United States. but also jeopardize the passage of the US-Mexico-Canada agreement on revisions made by the president to NAFTA.

Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley of R-Iowa and Senator Joni Ernst of RIowa urged the President not to respect Mexico's tariffs. When Trump threatened to assume office, Grassley even called it an abuse of presidential power.

Trump's commercial policy also has major political stakes for Ernst. She is to be re-elected next year as the GOP attempts to retain a majority of 53 to 47 in the Senate.

She seemed as relieved as anyone when Trump said that he would not act on tariffs on Mexico.

"Iowans breathe a sigh of relief: Mexico has mobilized to help us cope with the humanitarian crisis on the southern border, and we will not feel the effects of the new tariffs with any of our more important trading partners, "said Ernst in a statement. Friday.

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