Blackburn and Bredesen concerned about trade war but not yet criticizing

Questioned about the possibility of a trade war between the United States and China at a Tennessee Farm Bureau breakfast, U.S. Senate candidates Marsha Blackburn and Phil Bredesen had somewhat similar responses, reports the Times Free Press.

President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in recent weeks have threatened to slap tariffs on products exported from each other’s countries.

…Both candidates voiced concerns but were hesitant to criticize Trump.

“What we’re focused on is making certain that bad actors get punished. And that the U.S. marketplace — farmers, producers and consumers — don’t get punished,” said Blackburn, whose district includes parts of Maury County, where Columbia is the county seat. ” nobody has put a tariff in place yet. Everything is something that is a suggestion or recommendation or whatever.”

Bredesen said “if this trade war is not sorted out over the next few weeks before it becomes active, it’s obviously a problem for Tennessee farmers. It’s also a problem for a lot of manufacturers who are buying steel and buying aluminum and the like.

“What I’m hoping is this is a negotiating position on the part of the president and he’ll get some of the intellectual property protections that he wants that are important and get beyond this trade war stuff and get back to a position where farmers here can sell their products at competitive prices,” Bredesen added.

Both candidates have previously voiced concerns about Trump’s proposed 25 percent tariffs on steel and aluminum. Tennessee is home to a number of auto assembly plants, auto part supply factories and other manufacturers.

Those proposed tariffs led to China’s threat to impose tariffs on a variety of U.S. products, including in agriculture. When the president upped the ante, China’s Jinping responded in kind.

While nothing has taken effect yet, the Chinese list includes soybeans, pork, cotton as well as tobacco. All are produced in Tennessee. Tennessee ranks No. 17 among U.S. states in soybean production and 26th in pork.

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