MONTGOMERY — U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks' recent claim that some farmers' groups are more aligned with China than the U.S. got pushback from the president of the Alabama Farmers Federation.
During an appearance on the Dale Jackson Show on WVNN radio, Brooks accused farming groups, chambers of commerce, Walmart and other “entities” of siding with China over American interests.
“They use entities like ALFA, the (American) Farm Bureau, other farm unions around the United States …. The Chinese are very good at putting those entities in a position where they are unwilling to do what it necessary to balance out trade with China or eliminate our dependency on China on so many things that are critical for life sustenance in America, medicines being No. 1,” Brooks, R-Huntsville, said.
In a letter to Brooks obtained by Alabama Daily News, Alabama Farmers Federation (ALFA) President Jimmy Parnell said the congressman’s comments were “not only unfair” but untrue.
“It is also an insult to the Alabama farmers who have endured punitive tariffs and low commodity prices while standing with President Donald Trump to hold China accountable,” Parnell wrote.
Parnell said Brooks left out some important information in his radio criticism, namely that agriculture products are a “bright spot” in the trade imbalance.
“The Chinese people purchase more agricultural products from the U.S. than they export to the U.S.," Parnell wrote. "If you are truly concerned about addressing the overall trade deficit with China, you should be on the front line advocating for more access for U.S. agricultural goods in China, rather than continuing this self-serving, divisive rhetoric which does nothing to advance the cause of liberty.”
On the radio, Brooks said ALFA has advocated against U.S. trade policies that might help balance trade with China.
“We’ve got to get those groups that are profiting from China trade to start recognizing that what they are doing is not in the best interests in the United States of America …," Brooks said. "With respect to ALFA, one of the big issues they have is ‘we have to sell our agricultural products to China,' and of course, that means we can’t engage in aggressive trade policies that would help balance our trade deficit with China because ALFA is on the opposite side of America and on the side of the Chinese.”