Fears of Trade War “Animating” Senate Race

From Courtney Rice, Press Secretary for the North Dakota Democratic-NPL: “Despite hearing concerns across North Dakota about the detrimental effects this trade war is having, Cramer has turned a blind eye – choosing to recklessly side with the president and endorse this trade war rather than working across the aisle to come up with solutions.”


Grand Forks Herald: Some farmers fret amid trade war, animating ND’s Senate race
By John Hageman
July 13, 2018

Key Points:

  • A flurry of trade news in recent months has Richards [a farmer near Hope, ND] worried. It reached a crescendo last week, when China imposed retaliatory tariffs on a range of U.S. products, including 25 percent on soybeans, one of the crops Richards grows.
  • The cost of equipment is going up because of previous tariffs President Donald Trump’s administration imposed on steel and aluminum imports, he said. And amid those fights, the Trump administration is renegotiating the 24-year-old trade agreement linking the U.S. with Canada and Mexico.
  • “I’ve been doing this for 46 years,” said Richards, the Steele County president for the North Dakota Farmers Union. “Right now, I am the most scared I’ve ever been as to where the future of farming is going.”
  • Heitkamp this week described the trade war as “misguided” and called for rallying U.S. partners to confront China rather than using a “blunt instrument” like tariffs. Cramer, a Trump ally who previously denounced Democratic “hysteria” over Chinese tariffs, said he’s “on board with what (Trump) is trying to do” but expressed distaste for tariffs.
  • “Cramer boasts about (how) he votes with the president all the time. I don’t think that’s good for North Dakota,” said Richards.
  • Robert Kudrle, a professor in the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, said “…the ag sector is really paying for this big time.”
  • Soybeans have become the poster child for the trade war with China, given that the Asian nation is the biggest market for the U.S. North Dakota Trade Office Executive Director Simon Wilson estimated the state exports $1.4 billion to $1.8 billion worth of soybeans to China annually.
  • But a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released this week lowered soybean export projections for 2018-19. Monte Peterson, a Valley City area farmer who’s a leader in state and national soybean groups, pointed to soybean futures that have dropped steadily in recent weeks. “This price that we’re at today … we’re below any potential for profit,” he said. “We’re looking at losses.”
  • Heitkamp has signed on to legislation to nullify the steel and aluminum tariffs and to require congressional approval for tariffs imposed in the name of national security. She hoped a non-binding Senate vote this week would send a message to Trump’s administration that “patience is running thin.”

Read the full article here.

And see how the Cramer-endorsed trade war is playing in local media: