Key Republicans Voice Concern with Trump’s Trade War, Kevin Cramer Still Cheering from Sidelines

Kevin Cramer Only Cares About His Audience of One 

(BISMARCK, ND) – Forget North Dakota farmers, ranchers and manufacturers – Kevin Cramer only cares about his audience of one, and that’s the president. He still can’t muster up support for North Dakota agricultural producers who are concerned about the trade war – he even condescendingly calls their concerns “hysteria.”

But it looks like Cramer is becoming even more isolated in his support for a trade war, as key Trump allies in the Congress voice their concerns. Highlights from two important articles below:

The Hill: Republicans think Trump is losing trade war

  • President Trump is facing a significant backlash from Senate Republicans over his trade talks with China, which they see as delivering far less than he promised. Several GOP senators say Trump has wound up on the losing side of the discussions, and his talk of lifting rules barring U.S. companies from selling to the Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE has prompted a revolt.

  • “Sadly #China is out-negotiating the administration & winning the trade talks right now,” [Senator Marco Rubio] wrote on Twitter. “They have avoided tariffs & got a #ZTE deal without giving up anything meaningful in return by using N. Korea talks & agriculture issues as leverage.”

  • Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said farmers and ranchers he met with on Tuesday are not reassured by Trump’s claim over the weekend via Twitter that “China has agreed to buy massive amounts of additional farm/agricultural products.” “I’ve been meeting with farmers and ranchers all morning. I have not yet heard one who thinks the U.S. has won anything from the Chinese leadership,” he said. “They’re scared to death.”

  • Sasse, who ripped Trump’s trade policies earlier this year as the “dumbest possible way” to take on China, said Trump doesn’t appear to have made significant progress addressing two major economic threats facing the United States: China’s ambitions to dominate high-tech industries and its rampant theft of U.S. intellectual property.

  • Even Trump’s most loyal allies are expressing frustration. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said he agreed with Rubio’s critique.

  • “Is there a plan somewhere?” asked Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Politico: Who’s winning the trade war? Everyone but Trump.

  • There may be new winners as President Donald Trump ramps up trade pressures on China: America’s top competitors.

  • Brazil could bring millions of new acres of land into production faster with the help of Chinese investments in its roads and railways, a boom for soybean farmers seeking an edge over U.S. farmers. In Europe, Airbus is poised to ramp up production to fill Chinese orders that were originally meant to go to U.S.-based Boeing. Australia, Canada and other countries may be able to export the scrap aluminum and other recyclables the U.S. used to send to China en masse.

  • Beijing will continue to pour resources into other countries to diversify its sources for everything from food to consumer goods to meet growing demand. And that worries American manufacturers and growers who stand to lose market share to competitors whose governments are friendlier to global trade.

  • Brazil’s push on soybeans is a prime example of the unintended — and irreversible — consequences of a U.S.-China trade war. The U.S. once was the major grower and exporter of soybeans, with China as the major consumer and importer. Now, the South American nation has supplanted the U.S. as the biggest global supplier. Protracted discussions between the U.S. and China are just expected to exacerbate the widening gap.

  • Any further losses in market share could have devastating effects on U.S. farmers, who saw 61 percent of their total exports go to China last year, amounting to $14 billion worth of shipments. Farm incomes are already at their lowest point since 2009 and are expected to stay stagnant for the remainder of 2018.

  • Economists say that situation could worsen if the threat of tariffs continues through the summer and, as the U.S. harvest nears, Chinese buyers grow even more reluctant to import the commodity only to have a duty imposed while the shipment is out to sea.