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Grassley: Preliminary Mexico Trade Deal 'Encouraging'

chuck grassley
Amy Mayer/IPR file photo
Sen. Chuck Grassley

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said Tuesday President Trump’s announcement of a preliminary trade deal with Mexico and details for $12 billion in farmer aid shows he is “keeping his promises to rural America.”

Grassley said Iowa farmers have been feeling a lot of uncertainty as commodity prices drop and Trump’s trade war continues. But he says the preliminary trade deal with Mexico is encouraging, even though he doesn’t know the details yet.

Grassley was asked if there is any risk to announcing a deal with Mexico before Canada has agreed to anything.

“I suppose it irritates Canada,” Grassley said. “But I’m sure this is the administration’s strategy to put pressure on Canada.”

He said he’s still hoping for a trilateral deal including Canada and Mexico that would fulfill the president’s promise of re-negotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Grassley added the administration officials working on the trade agreement are protectionists who probably “don’t really care” if this strategy is risky.

He said it’s important that the administration is also providing aid to farmers affected by tariffs.

“This temporary relief from tariffs will be welcomed,” Grassley said. “However, farmers don’t want handouts. They want long-term markets.”

Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter