In Senate Hearing, U.S. Sen. Tina Smith Presses Treasury Secretary on Economic Impact of Trade War on Minnesota Ag

WASHINGTON, DC [09/10/19]— Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) pressed U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin on the Trump Administration’s trade war that is causing real, long-term economic damage to Minnesota farmers and rural communities. 

Sen. Smith’s questioning came in response to an interview Mnuchin gave earlier this week. When talking about the Chinese tariff war during a Fox Business interview, he said “it is fair to say it has impacted the Chinese economy. We have not yet seen any impact on the U.S. economy.”

“Minnesota farmers and soybean farmers in northwestern Minnesota have seen their sales drop by 75%,” said Sen. Smith in the Senate Banking Committee. “They don’t have any place to store the beans anymore. They feel like they are collateral damage in this trade war.”

The economic losses in the agriculture sector are staggering. In 2017, China imported $19.5 billion in agricultural goods from the United States. In 2018, that number was $9.2 billion. That is over a 50 percent drop. In Minnesota, soybean prices have dropped about 9 percent since the beginning of the tariff war, and soybean exports to China dropped by about 75% from September 2018 to May 2019.

On Tuesday, Sen. Smith also pressed Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria about offering equitable housing finance options to potential homebuyers.

You can access video of Sen. Smith’s questioning here.