Stop tariffs on Ag

Stop tariffs on Ag

David Sparks Ph.D.
David Sparks Ph.D.
Agricultural groups have had enough with Washington using Ag products as weapons in the on-going trade war with China.

After President Trump announced another tariff last week, China said they'll add an extra 5% tariff, in addition to the 25% tariff imposed a year ago on US soybeans starting in September, then another 10% in duties on all major US crops starting in the fall.

Also breaking last week is the fact that China says it will retaliate if the US imposes another tariff on Chinese goods September 1.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says that the latest round of tariffs by China hurts US agriculture.

"China's announcement of imposing additional tariffs on $75 billion of U.S. imports signals more trouble for American agriculture. Farm Bureau is currently assessing the details of this announcement, but we know continued retaliation only adds to the difficulties farm and ranch families are facing and takes the situation in the exact wrong direction," said Duvall.

In 2017, the U.S. exported $19.5 billion of agricultural products to China.

In 2018, U.S. ag exports to China dropped to $9.1 billion, due to retaliatory tariffs.

"And exports were already down in the first half of this year by $1.3 billion," said Duvall.

Duvall adds, "Continuing negotiations is the best way to restore certainty to export markets farmers and ranchers depend on. We need substantive trade agreements that ensure American agriculture can provide an abundant and safe food supply for the world's growing population."

US Chamber of Commerce leaders says the US should continue negotiations but tread lightly.

"The U.S. business community has for many years called out the lack of progress in addressing China's unfair trade practices," said US Chamber Executive VP Myron Brilliant.  

He says the U.S. Chamber wants to resolve the challenges through negotiation and wants tough action by the U.S. government. 

"Despite our concerns, the 40-year old trade relationship between our two countries has been for the most part productive, constructive, and mutually beneficial.  U.S. companies have been ambassadors for positive changes to the Chinese economy that continue to benefit both our people," said Brilliant.

Brilliant says the US Chamber shares President Trump's frustration with China Trade.

 "We think continued, constructive engagement is the right way forward.  Time is of the essence. We do not want to see a further deterioration of U.S.-China relations. We urge the administration and the government of China to return to the negotiating table to complete an agreement that addresses concerns over technology transfer practices, intellectual property enforcement, market access, and the globally damaging impact of Chinese domestic subsidies," added Brilliant.

The American Soybean Association is calling for an end to the tariffs on U.S. soybeans.

"This affects us not because of the increased tariff on our sales, which have been at a virtual standstill for months, but through time. The longevity of this situation means worsening circumstances for soy growers who still have unsold product from this past season and new crops in the ground this season," said Davie Stephens.

The ASA wants both countries involved in the trade war to find speedy solutions.

"ASA would like to see both parties - China and the United States- step up, stop tariffs, and find a resolution that does not target soy growers trapped in the middle. Real people—Chinese citizens, the American public, and our soybean farmers—are the ones feeling the effects of this trade war," added Stephens.

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