WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — U.S. farmers remain frustrated as the trade war between the United States and China continue.
On May 10, the United States increased tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods from 10% to 25% to put pressure on China to make changes to its economic policies. The trade war and an attempt to reach an agreement have been ongoing since July 2018.
“The U.S. has been at the table with China 11 times now and still has not closed the deal,” said Davie Stephens, president of the American Soybean Association (ASA). “What that means for soybean growers is that we’re losing. Losing a valuable market, losing stable pricing, losing an opportunity to support our families and our communities. These trade negotiations are serious for us. Farming is our livelihood.”
In reaction to the United States raising tariffs, China announced plans to retaliate, which furthers U.S. farmers concerns about becoming “collateral damage.”
“The soybean market in China took us more than 40 years to build, and as this confrontation continues, it will become increasingly difficult to recover,” Stephens said. “With depressed prices and unsold stocks expected to double by the 2019 harvest, soybean farmers are not willing to be collateral damage in an endless tariff war.”
The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) reiterated the plea of a solution, especially since the recent wet weather is impacting spring planting.
“Corn farmers are watching commodity prices decline amid ongoing tariff threats, even while many can’t get to spring planting because of wet weather,” said Lynn Crisp, president of the NCGA. “This spring’s heavy rains have impacted farmers across the country, with the most recent WASDE report showing that only 30% of the corn crop has been planted, half the five-year average of 66%.”
While the ASA said it supports the U.S. goals of the negotiations it does not support the continuation of raising tariffs to achieve them.
“We call on the administration to conclude an agreement focused on significantly reducing the U.S. trade deficit with China, including restoring and increasing our agricultural exports and eliminating China's 25% tariff on U.S. soybeans,” the ASA said. “We would support the use of other tactics to pursue the structural changes the U.S. is seeking in China’s economic policies, including working with like-minded countries.”
The NCGA echoed the call to find a resolution and to consider the impact the trade war is having on U.S. agriculture.
“Holding China accountable for objectionable behavior is an admirable goal, but the ripple effects are causing harm to farmers and rural communities,” Crisp said. “Farmers have been patient and willing to let negotiations play out, but with each passing day, patience is wearing thin. Agriculture needs certainty, not more tariffs.”