Iowa workers, from farming to manufacturing to retail, are feeling the effects of the ongoing trade conflict between the world’s two largest economies.
Mike Ralston, president of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, told The Center Square that Iowans are, without a doubt, paying the price for the international dispute between the U.S. and China. Speaking from the manufacturing industry’s perspective, he said the tariff war is viewed two ways.
“One, they really understand what the [Trump] administration is trying to do, particularly with China,” Ralston said. “China has not been a fair and equitable trading partner. The second thing they’ll say is that the trade war and the tariffs are not sustainable economic policy forever. They’re very, very hopeful some progress can be made.”
According to Ralston, Iowa manufacturers are paying increased prices because of the tariffs.
“A lot of them are eating those costs now, but at some point, they have to pass those on to their customers,” he said. “And that’ll have a pretty dramatic effect on Iowa customers.”
Ralston added that ABI members are paying high prices for steel and other commodities.
“In general, they’re trying to not raise prices yet, but at some point, they’re going to have to,” he said.
Last month, the ABI, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, and the Greater Des Moines Partnership wrote a letter asking the state’s representatives in Washington, D.C. to adopt the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The letter stressed that “the trade deal is essential to Iowa farmers, businesses, and families and provides economic predictability that Iowa needs for the future.”
“That would help while these other situations, particularly involving China, get resolved,” Ralston said.
Iowa business leaders have been keeping in touch with the state’s leaders in Washington, D.C. Ralston said that a small group will go to the capital in two weeks to speak to members of Congress in an effort to get the USMCA approved.