U.S. Representative Rick Crawford, chair of the House Steel Caucus, is maintaining support for President Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs as officials in China unveil proposed retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural commodities. China is preparing to impose $40 billion of new tariffs targeting a range of goods, including soybeans, rice, corn, and grain sorghum.
Click on the audio link above to listen to KUAR's full interview with Rep. Crawford.
Crawford said concerns about a damaging trade war are understandable but overblown.
“They’ve got roughly a 1.4 billion population that they have to feed. They don’t have the resources to do it themselves. Their livestock sector has increased tremendously and that puts more demand on grains like soybeans and corn. They’re not going to be able to do without us. That’s just a cold hard fact and that fundamental picture hasn’t changed,” said Crawford.
However, the Agricultural Council of Arkansas says if a 25 percent tariff against Arkansas agricultural goods is imposed, it’ll cause “tremendous hardship” for Arkansas farmers. University of Arkansas Agriculture Division analysis anticipates tariffs could negatively impact the state to the tune of $383 million. The Republican Congressman’s district yields some of the highest agricultural outputs in the state.
Crawford said if those predictions do become reality he’s not inflexible, “My position is not to bury my head in the sand, and lock in here, and say whatever happens is going to happen, 'oh well.' But I think it’s way too early to pronounce doom and gloom.”
Arkansas rice production is the highest in the nation and soybean production ranks 11th. The First District also has one of the fastest growing and highest producing steel counties in the country, Mississippi County.