Trade Fallout Continues

Trade truce with China in the works?

June 18, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn (RFD-TV) The tariff fallout hits agriculture once again: China matches the United States, promising $50 billion in retaliatory taxes. The tariffs on $34 billion worth of imports will start July 6. Impacted ag products include soy, corn, wheat, cotton, rice, sorghum, beef, pork, poultry, fish, dairy products, fruit, nuts and vegetables. The country has not yet announced an effective date for the remaining 114 goods.

In 2017, China’s agriculture imports from U.S. were worth $24.1 billion. The tariffs garnered responses from several ag groups, including the Iowa Soybean Association. Chief Operating Officer Karey Claghorn, said, “It’s not just farmers that lose, both in the U.S. and in China.” But she added, “Our farmers are resilient. They’re used to dealing with challenges that are outside of their ability to control. They will continue to work hard and stay focused on growing a crop. At the Iowa Soybean Association, we will continue to work with partners, working on demand, building new markets, both here and abroad, as well as finding efficiencies in exporting our crop.”

U.S. Grains Council shared its thoughts, saying “We are concerned any tariff opens this market to our competitors, and locking out U.S. products doesn’t mean trade stops – it means other partners will take our place. We trust the Trump administration knows how critical open markets are to our industry and appreciate their support during this process and in this tense time.”

For the administration’s part, Secretary Perdue assured farmers that his department will continue to closely monitor the markets. “You can’t demonstrate any damage on the day that tariffs are announced. We have been calculating market impact on a weekly basis for a number of months now. If we determine that there is legitimate and lasting market impact based on market disruptions of tariffs and retaliations, we are prepared to take action,” Perdue said, though he declined to comment on exactly what mechanisms such action might employ.

But some farmers and their representatives are already pushing back, saying that they’ve already seen a measurable impact from tariffs in terms of lost sales and lower prices. Anxiety in farm country is reaching a fever pitch, though some still hope that there may be a method to the madness when it comes to the President’s trade rhetoric.