After first shots, farmers and political experts discuss future of trade war
TIFFIN, Iowa (CBS2/FOX28) —
President Trump's trade war with China and other nations has now drafted Iowa farmers to the front lines. The weapon of choice on both sides of the financial fight is commodities. For China, they are attacking soybeans, primarily from Iowa. Farmers are trying to stay positive, hoping short term pain will lead to long term gain.
"We're fighting the weather and insects and everything else so we hate to have to fight the markets and politics on top of that." Said Steve Swenka, farmer and rancher near Tiffin. "Beans have already lost about $2.50 a bushel and that equates to about $125 an acre, so that's real value and that's real profit margin that just left the farm."
CBS News Senior Foreign Relations Correspondent and Moderator of 'Face the Nation' Margaret Brennan spoke with us Friday Afternoon to get the political take on the growing trade war. She says the White House has provided no evidence of progress in talks with China. "They've had at least three rounds of failed talks," said Brennan. "Because the Republican Party itself is divided on how to challenge the President, they're concerned about too publicly feuding with him on this particular policy but they are quietly lobbying him to say some of our constituents are concerned this could hurt economic growth. "
As for the danger for a GOP already worried about holding control of Congress after November's midterms, Brennan says there is cause for concern. "Republicans on Capitol Hill, particularly those coming from the heartland, from farm states, are concerned. When you look at the potential impact of tariffs, their concern is that it could jeopardize that message that Republicans can deliver on."
For closer look at the threats vs. the actual tariffs, here's a tracker of the trade war courtesy the Washington Post.