On Friday, March 23, Donald trump announced tariffs on at least $50 billion in Chinese imports. This concerns policy makers across the world, as a trade war could stem from the signed order, that President Trump told reports is “the first of many,” according to a Bloomberg release.
Commodity and ag groups that will feel the impact of the tariffs had disappointing reactions to the president’s order.
American Farm Bureau Federation
“If the trade situation continues to deteriorate, our lives as farmers and ranchers will become more difficult,” says Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president. “America’s farmers and ranchers export more than $21 billion of farm products to China – more than 20 percent of their production. After Canada, China is our second-largest customer for ag exports. In retaliation for what our government says are justified U.S. trade measures against China on intellectual property issues, Chinese officials now have indicated they are prepared to slap tariffs on U.S. pork, wine and fruit.
“Our farmers and ranchers depend on trade for a living, and we are very concerned about retaliation resulting from the tariffs announced yesterday. China is an important market for U.S. pork. With about a billion dollars’ worth of pork going to China and Hong Kong, it’s our second-biggest market. This will really hurt U.S. pork producers.
“Farm income across commodities has fallen by about 50 percent over the past four years. Retaliation in the trade arena makes our outlook even worse. This could not be happening at a worse time for American agriculture. We expect all countries to trade fairly, and we support enforcement of trade rules. But we also hope trade disputes can be resolved without harming an industry that is a bright spot on trade and is so important to rural America.”
“We’re disappointed that China is seeking additional tariffs on U.S. ethanol exports,” says Emily Skor, Growth Energy CEO.
“China has and continues to be an important market for ethanol and for dried distiller's grains, and we want to remove any of these unnecessary barriers as soon as possible. We will work closely with our government to keep this important market open to the benefit of both American agriculture and Chinese consumers.
“These actions could undercut our potential to increase exports to China following the country’s stated goal to move to a 10 percent ethanol blend by 2020, and would be a major barrier to increased trade.”
National Farmers Union
“Our trade agenda for the past 30 years has been to promote free trade at all costs, ignoring countries cheating on intellectual property rights and currency manipulation,” says Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union president. “While we’re appreciative of the administration’s focus on creating fair trade between the U.S. and our trading partners, their ‘bull in a china shop’ approach to fixing our trade woes is dangerous.
“Family farmers and ranchers are always the first to be hit by retaliatory tariffs, and in the case of China, significant exports markets are likely to be the first casualty. NFU is very concerned about the effects that China’s proposed retaliatory efforts would have on all agricultural products, particularly given our already burdensome inventories of grains. The President must have a plan in place to protect family farmers before seeking to remedy unfair trade practices."
U.S. Grains Council
"While we are not surprised, we are dismayed at new tariffs announced today by the Trump Administration against China, which will almost certainly prompt immediate and painful retaliation against U.S. agriculture and which have already complicated our global efforts to promote sales of U.S. grains and grain products,” says Tom Sleight, president and CEO of the U.S. Grains Council.
"The farmers and exporters we represent have been here before in our relationship with China. Since 2010, we have been adversely impacted by trade policy actions by China against U.S. distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS), sorghum, ethanol and corn. We have supported targeted, U.S. government efforts to address these issues but nevertheless remained dedicated to the China market because it holds immense growth potential for U.S. agriculture.
In the near term, we will continue our work to diversify the markets to which our products are exported, focused on sales that can support prices this crop year. Based on our recent experience, we are well aware this work will be an uphill battle because our reputation as a reliable supplier has come into question.
"In the longer term, U.S. agriculture must have a stable and coherent trade policy to thrive. The world is watching what our country does next - and markets have long memories. Agriculture is a positive contributor to the balance of trade, and the international marketplace offers the best available opportunity for growth in the U.S. agriculture sector and the U.S. economy as a whole.
"We will also continue to be in close contact with leaders at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the White House who know how critical open markets are to our industry and have been attentive to our concerns. We appreciate their support during this process and in the trying days ahead."