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State of the Union Talks Trade

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Donald Trump's State of the Union address talked about trade issues like the trade dispute with China.

Trump pointed out the tariffs they imposed on 250 billion dollars, "We are now making it clear to China that after years of targeting our industries and stealing our intellectual property the theft of American jobs and wealth has come to an end."

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is urging an enforceable agreement with China and asks the Trump Administration to stay at the negotiating table to end unfair practices. However, despite China buying more soybeans after the last round of talks, he says the trade war is hurting soybean farmers. China used to buy 60 percent of U.S. beans, this year it looks like it will be 14 percent.

Grassley says, "That's why certainty in trade is so very, very important. The unpredictability on this administration on trade loses markets sometimes, some markets forever. And maybe some of that's happened to our soybean farmers."

Iowa's Governor Kim Reynolds appreciated President Trump talking about the NAFTA replacement as well. She called for quick approval of the USMCA trade deal in a statement she hopes congress soon ratifies the agreement.

Reynolds says, “Mexico and Canada are Iowa’s number one and number two trading partners. Having a strong trade agreement with these countries such as the USMCA is critical to the ag and manufacturing communities in Iowa and across the entire nation.”

Trump did claim ag successes like the farm bill, but did not go much into detail on non-trade agriculture issues. However, it still had agriculture leaders reacting.

The National Farmers Union released a statement saying the President's remarks failed to recognize harsh realities, "The reality is that the downward trend in the farm economy has only worsened over the last two years, leaving many farmers and ranchers in significant financial stress. The reality is that once-stable markets for U.S. farm products are now being lost to our competitors."

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue took a different approach, claiming the President has helped farmers.

He calls the speech unifying, "The President’s policies have been beneficial to American agriculture in the short term, but also have laid the foundation for long-term prosperity.  Our trade agreements with other nations are getting stronger, and the strategies the President has employed will lead to new and expanded markets for our products."

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