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Grassley Dismisses President's Tweets Criticizing China

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John Pemble / IPR file
Sen. Chuck Grassley remains hopeful a trade deal with China will be reached.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are back at the negotiating table to continue talks about trade with China.

Their meeting in Shanghai with Chinese counterparts comes a day after the U.S. Department of Agriculture opened the sign-up period for farmers seeking aid to mitigate the impact of tariffs on their exports.

It’s been two months since the countries last met to discuss trade and in the interim, China had agreed to buy some U.S. agricultural products, but those sales have not yet begun.

On Twitter, President Donald Trump has continued to lash out at China.

Trump further suggested the trade war might stretch out beyond the U.S. 2020 presidential election.

Asked for a response to the president’s rhetoric, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, stayed focused on signs of progress.

“Just forget his tweet and just say what a blessing it is that in Shanghai, Lighthizer and Mnuchin are sitting down with their negotiators now,” Grassley said, “and when they’re talking there’s a chance of getting something done. And if they aren’t talking, like for the last two months, you know nothing’s going to happen. So we ought to stress the positive thing and that’s the possibility of an agreement.”

Grassley is also optimistic a trade deal between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, known as the USMCA, can be finalized this year.

“The significance of it is very important to the economy of Iowa,” said Grassley, who is chair of the Senate Finance Committee, which held a hearing on the USMCA Tuesday. Some Democrats have raised concerns about provisions for labor, the environment and enforcement of the new deal. But Grassley said he thinks they are making progress with trade officials.

“I spoke with Speaker Pelosi about it and I believe she wants to get to yes,” Grassley said.