A central Illinois congressman said the tariff tiff between the U.S. and other countries is hurting America’s breadbasket and that he wants to see results the administration’s policies.
President Donald Trump said Thursday in Montana that he’s being tough on trading partners because the U.S. has been taken advantage of for years with massive trade deficits.
“The [trade] war was lost many years ago,” Trump said. “You know, when they’re saying ‘not a free-trader,’ I said ‘no, no,’ the war was lost, but now we’re going to win it because we have all the cards.”
Trump said in particular China has been abusing U.S. companies by demanding they hand over intellectual property before doing business in that country. He also said even some of the United States’ greatest allies have taken advantage of the U.S. and all he’s asking for is reciprocal trade deals.
Friday morning American tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese imports were met with tariffs on billions of dollars of American exports to China. Two major American products China is now taxing are corn and soybeans, which affect Illinois farmers.
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, said Friday in Springfield, Illinois, that while he has concerns about the impact tariffs have on Illinois farmers, he has been told by his constituents to have patience.
“If they feel that this is the best way to negotiate, let’s see what those results are,” Davis said. “And if you talk with many of the farmers that I represent they will tell you they are worried, but they still support this president.”
Trump also recently leveled tariffs on steel and aluminum imports which lead to other countries responding in kind.
Roland Machinery in Springfield customizes heavy equipment for resale. President Matt Roland said he’s already getting letters about increased steel prices of up to 25 percent for things like backhoe buckets, and that’s hitting his business.
“The larger manufacturers probably level it out a little bit better than smaller manufacturers,” Roland said. “So it will affect us, but as long as the economy is strong we can probably handle it.”
Roland, who has one modified backhoe being sold to the state for over $200,000, said they pass the increased cost to the customer.
Davis said he wants to trust the Trump administration and give the administration the opportunity to make good trade deals “but I need to see some results.”
“Our families and our farmers and our manufacturers here in central Illinois need to see those results pretty quickly too,” Davis said.
“It’s always helpful when you don’t have the little ones sniping at your heels,” Trump said at Thursday’s rally in Montana. “Because it’s easier to negotiate when you have support.”