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Enough Is Enough On Trade War, U.S. Ag Groups Say
DES MOINES, Iowa -- U.S. agricultural commodities groups have had enough with trade tariffs and the lack of progress.
On Friday, China announced it will impose an extra 5% tariff, in addition to the 25% tariff imposed a year ago, on U.S. soybeans starting Sept. 1 and an additional 10% duties on other major U.S. crops starting mid-December.
Earlier this week, China signaled that it would retaliate if the U.S. carried through with its plan to up tariffs on Chinese goods September 1.
Farm Groups React
Davie Stephens, president of the American Soybean Association (ASA), says that his organization has requested once, and is doing so again, for an end to the tariffs on U.S. soybeans.
“This escalation will affect us not because of the increasing 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,” Stephens stated in a Friday press release.
ASA wants both countries involved in the trade war to find solutions.
“ASA would like to see both parties - China and the United States- step up, stop tariffs, and find 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,” the ASA leader stated.
Meanwhile, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), says that the additional tariffs by China means more trouble for U.S. 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,” says AFBF president Zippy 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,” Duvall stated in a Friday press release.
Duvall added, “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.”
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Myron Brilliant, Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce says that President Trump has the Chamber’s support, but a more constructive approach is suggested.
"The U.S. business community has for many years called out the lack of progress in addressing China’s unfair trade practices. The U.S. Chamber has been on the front lines of efforts to resolve these challenges through negotiation and encouraging 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,” Brilliant stated in a press release Friday.
Brilliant added, ”While we share the President’s frustration, we believe that 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."