WASHINGTON, DC - Today Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) joined Joe Gill on KASM Radio Network to weigh in on the ongoing trade disputes between the United States and China, as well as give an update on the status of this year's Farm Bill.
On the current state of global trade and tariffs:
I am concerned. The good news is in the first quarter of this year exports out of Minnesota were up 9%. But if you want to know how important trade is to Minnesota, look at the fact that trade with Mexico, one of our top three trade partners, was down by 13%. So exports were up 9% total, but was down 13% with one of our top three direct trading partners. Why? Well, NAFTA has created a bit of a strain. And now you’ve got China retaliating... Our great soybean producers in Minnesota exported $28 billion worth of soybeans last year, and $14 billion of those exports went to China... I am very concerned, Joe.
On the administration's actions against China:
The Trump administration is trying to level the playing field... We want to freely trade but it has to be fair on both sides. In the meantime, the Chinese are not stupid, they are targeting ten states that Donald Trump won last election. Look, the administration doesn’t call it a 'trade war,' they call it 'multiple trade disputes.' I don’t care what you call it, it is very concerning... The administration has got to walk a very fine line and Congress will be weighing in. It's important to have fair and reciprocal trade, we do not dispute that, but you need producers to produce these commodities when this whole thing is done, so we are encouraging the administration to get this finished very quickly.
On if the trade disputes continue and the future of farming:
Well, the United States has the greater leverage, but we're talking about farm communities with farmers who are 55-65 years old. How long are they going to stay in, Joe? If this continues a lot of those folks will say, “It has been a good run, but we’re going to cash out.” Then you’ve got the young people who you’re trying to bring into our farming community, because we have not only sustain the industry but to grow it. How can they survive?
On the 2018 Farm Bill:
There will be a motion to go to conference before the end of this week, and they will work on it post haste. My colleague from Minnesota’s Seventh District, Collin Peterson, has started to talk again with Chairman [of the House Agriculture Committee] Mike Conaway, which is a very good sign. If we cannot get it done before the end of July, I am very confident Joe that you are going to see the farm bill done before the end of September... As well, 60% of the very conservative members voted for the House farm bill, so that is another great sign in light of some of the disputes they have had over farm programs in the past.
CLICK HERE to listen to the full interview online.