China US trade dispute
U.S. President Donald Trumpannouncedthat the administration is ready to implement an additional $200 billion in Chinese goods to be hit with a 10% tariff in reaction to China raising tariffs on $50 billion worth of U.S. exports.

“I directed the United States Trade Representative to identify $200 billion worth of Chinese goods for additional tariffs at a rate of 10%,” Trump said.  “After the legal process is complete, these tariffs will go into effect if China refuses to change its practices, and also if it insists on going forward with the new tariffs that it has recently announced. If China increases its tariffs yet again, we will meet that action by pursuing additional tariffs on another $200 billion of goods.  The trade relationship between the United States and China must be much more equitable.”

Following the Trump administration’s announcement of new tariffs on $50 billion of imported Chinese goods, China responded on June 15 with its own 25% tariffs on $50 billion of American goods, including soybeans.

According to the American Soybean Association (ASA), in 2017 China imported 60% of total U.S. soybean exports, representing nearly 1 in 3 rows of harvested soybeans, with a value of $14 billion.

John Heisdorffer
John Heisdorffer, president of the ASA

“Soybean prices are declining as a direct result of this trade feud,” said John Heisdorffer, president of the ASA. “Prices are down almost a dollar and a half per bushel since the end of May — and continue to plummet. That represents a loss of more than $6 billion on the 2018 soybean crop in less than a month. We have approached the Trump administration repeatedly and implored them to hear our side of this story.”

The ASA is disappointed and highly concerned that trade tensions continue to ratchet up rather than deescalate between the two countries and that its repeated requests to the administration for a non-tariff solution that does not threaten the market stability and livelihoods of soy growers has not been put forward.

wheat grain
The U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and National Wheat Growers Association (NAWG) believe that these tariffs will push China to purchase wheat from other countries.

“China’s state-run importing agency and private flour millers bought an average of more than 1.1 million tonnes of U.S. wheat the past five years because our farmers produce higher quality grain than China can grow on its own,” both wheat associations said. “No one in China will be hurt if the retaliatory U.S. wheat tariff is implemented. China has huge amounts of stored wheat and they can purchase what they need from Australia, Canada or even Kazakhstan, although Chinese consumers will miss the opportunity to experience higher quality products made from U.S. wheat. Instead, the outcome is likely to further erode the incomes of farm families who strongly support addressing the real concerns about China’s trade policies.”

NAWG and USW do support the U.S. administration in fighting for fair opportunities to compete in but not by endangering U.S. agriculture.

“The administration is doubling down on a tactical policy that makes an already risky business of agriculture even more volatile,” the wheat associations said. “Policies like the ones being proposed will only make times harder for farmers, and the administration’s vague promises of protection for the farmers we represent offers little consolation. Our country’s continuing agricultural trade surplus is proof that America’s farmers can compete successfully in the world based on the quality and value of what they produce, given the freedom to do so.”