trade

Amy Mayer / IPR file

The United States will not implement increases to tariffs on Chinese goods that were scheduled for Oct. 15. This slight easing of trade tensions follows productive meetings in Washington last week that President Donald Trump says led to a tentative trade deal.

Vice President Mike Pence and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds greet the crowd at a rally on a farm near the Des Moines suburb of Waukee promoting the U.S. Mexico Canada trade agreement.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Vice President Mike Pence says Congress should act quickly to ratify a new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada by the end of the year. Pence travelled to Iowa Wednesday to pressure Democratic lawmakers to hurry the trade deal through the House.

Amy Mayer / IPR file

Japan’s Parliament is convening this month and will likely take up a new trade deal with the United States. If enacted, the agreement might bring some good news to farmers, but no one really knows. 

Official language of the deal has not yet been made public, though the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said it would increase access to the Japanese market for U.S. wheat, pork, and beef.

Amy Mayer / Iowa Public Radio

On a hot September day, five Japanese men arrived at Rod Pierce’s central Iowa farm. They represented feed mills and livestock cooperatives, and were there to see the corn they may eventually buy. 

Pierce invited them to walk among his rows of corn, climb into the cab of an 8-head combine and poke their heads into one his empty grain storage bins. 

Pierce grows mostly corn on his 1,700 acres and he knows about one-fifth of the corn grown in the United States gets exported. Japan’s second only to Mexico as a customer of U.S. corn. 

Patrick Tomasso/Unsplash


United Soybean Board / Creative Commons

China will exclude U.S. soybeans and pork from its latest round of tariffs, yet many Iowa farmers are concerned as the trade dispute continues to impact their bottom lines. 

David Differding and his wife Susan own Timeless Prairie Orchard, a small apple farm in Winthrop, Iowa. He says his business has lost tens of thousands of dollars as rising tariffs lead large-scale apple producers in Washington to flood the market with the lower priced produce they're unable to export.

Amy Mayer / Iowa Public Radio

The United States and Canada must ratify an agreement that Mexico has already approved to put into place a trade deal the three countries negotiated to update and replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement.

Rick Brewer / IPR

On this "news buzz" edition of River to River, Donnelle Eller of the Des Moines Register offers an update on the impact of the China trade war on agriculture and farmers, Peggy Huppert of NAMI Iowa speaks about the stigma surrounding mass shootings and mental illness and IPR's Western Iowa Reporter Katie Peikes speaks about JD Scholten's announcement to run for Iowa's 4th congressional district seat.

John Pemble / IPR file

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.

U.S farmers have long depended on foreign buyers for some of their corn, soybeans, pork and other products. And federal officials have used some agricultural commodities as tools of diplomacy for decades.

But as the Trump administration has pursued hard-line moves with major trading partners, especially China, farmers have found themselves with huge surpluses — and on the receiving end of government aid.

Modern farming became permanently entwined with both politics and export markets in the mid-20th century, says Mount Royal University historian Joe Anderson.

Wikimedia Commons

President Trump's escalating trade war with China is drawing criticism, even from some members of Congress friendly to his economic policies. Congress is preparing to issue a second set of federal payments to farmers facing tariffs while trade negotiations continue.

In this political discussion on River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with analysts about the politics of the president's trade policies, escalating tensions with Iran and the latest developments in the 2020 race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

John Pemble / IPR file photo

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley is hopeful about the direction of trade negotiations between the U.S. and China, even after President Trump announced plans to increase tariffs on Chinese imports. Iowa's senior senator said it’s a good sign that negotiators from the two countries are still planning to meet in Washington this week to discuss a potential deal.

In theory, closing off China’s soybean market due to the trade dispute with the U.S. on top of generally low prices for the commodity should affect all industry players, big to small. Agriculture economist Pat Westhoff begged to differ.

The U.S. trade war with China has created a financial burden for farmers and companies that import Chinese goods. Consumers, on the other hand, have mostly been spared from the conflict.

That could all change if this month’s negotiations between the U.S. and China don’t go well.

John Pemble / IPR file

Some members of Congress aren’t on board with the Trump administration’s new trade deal with Canada and Mexico. But Iowa’s senior U.S. Senator says the president may force their vote.