It’s no secret that tariffs and the current trade war between the United States and China have impacted the Iowa economy in the areas of manufacturing and agriculture.
The cat is also out of the bag that many of those affected by the tariffs would like to see them end — the only secret is when that might happen.
While there are no immediate answers forthcoming, Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) was in Edgewood Aug. 14 as the guest of Kendrick Forest Products to learn more about the logging industry and provide more information as to where the trade war stands.
Kirby Kendrick and Rhonda Kendrick took the senator on a tour of both the north and south facilities, and Ernst held a brief question-and-answer session with invitees.
She said that Kendrick was one of the stops on her 99-county tour. “We try to go to a location and learn about an industry, to gain knowledge about the state of Iowa and some of the challenges our constituents might have.”
Ernst said she found the tour informational, as it was her first such excursion to a sawmill. “China used to purchase wood products and now with the tariffs, it’s really cutting into that profit margin,” said the senator. “Understanding some of the impact that is having on the community and the businesses here is really important to see firsthand.”
Ernst said she has heard from some farmers that they may soon be upside-down, but that they are willing to hang on a little longer. She said more people are choosing to buy American products, so some business owners are saying the tariffs are good for their businesses.
“The push that I hear is, ‘get these trade deals done,’” Ernst said. She believes the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) Trade Agreement is essential. “The USMCA is our top priority. It’s done, but sitting in the House.” Ernst said once the Senate gets it from the House, it will be passed and President Trump will sign off on it.
“We get into these ‘back-and-forths’ and I really want to get us to a point where we’re seeing resolution and the end in sight,” said Ernst. It’s getting to be a hard time for our farmers and manufacturers.”
Kirby Kendrick was appreciative of the senator’s visit and for the ability to draw more attention to the logging industry. “Anytime you can host a state legislator or federal legislator it’s always an honor. There’s a lot of stuff going on in this country right now, and to show them what’s going on in little northeast Iowa is a big deal for us. To get her familiar with our industry was the big thing.”
Kendrick added, “It always helps to put a face to the company. If you’re not talking to them, you’ll be forgotten, unfortunately. We’re thankful Senator Ernst could visit us today.”