Area farmers have been hit by the trade war between the U.S. and China, with the Chinese being some of their main customers for many years.
Monday was especially bad for the agriculture economy with the DOW dropping 600 points in anticipation of worsening U.S./Chinese relations.
U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, said the farmers are being targeted by China specifically because they were the ones who voted for President Donald Trump. He said if President Barack Obama was still in office, a different sector would be getting hit.
“Ultimately, the president is right to take on China, and we should have been doing this 20 years ago,” Kinzinger said in an Ottawa visit Monday. “We have to recognize that the ag economy is hurting despite the rest of the economy doing really well. I think it is important for us to look at other areas where we can open up markets.”
Kinzinger said Democrats need to reach across the aisle to help Republicans pass the USMCA, which stands for United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a renegotiated NAFTA that would level the playing field for American businesses and farmers so they can sell dairy products in Canada and limiting barriers for what goods can be sold in Mexico and Canada.
“I’m hearing a lot of them are resistant because they don’t want the president to have a win,” Kinzinger said.
Kinzinger said this deal could alleviate the struggles American farmers are seeing right now.
“We’re going to have to win this battle with China,” Kinzinger said. “To get out now would cost a lot more money and frankly, it would be extremely bad for the economy in the long term. I don’t like tariffs, but I also think that this point you have to fight and tariffs will work to do it.”
Kinzinger said the United States has more bullets in the gun when it comes to fighting China but the Chinese have a higher pain threshold, which is something the U.S. needs to work on.