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Twice-delayed tariffs now enacted

Updated: More trade aid may be in the works for U.S. farmers.

Ben Potter

May 10, 2019

6 Min Read
Getty Images

Updated 1:48 p.m. May 10

Reuters is reporting that a new trade aid package for farmers may be in the works.





The National Pork Producers Council was quick to welcome the news.

"Pork producers have been innocent bystanders in these trade disputes," said David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, North Carolina and president of the National Pork Producers Council. "Unlike most of the population, they have suffered severe economic dislocations as a result of trade disputes.  It is fair and right that the U.S. government purchase significant quantities of pork over the next 18 months to ship as food aid to help ease the financial burden placed on producers."  

Earlier in the day 

The trade conflict between the U.S. and China intensified Friday after the U.S. moved tariff rates on $200 billion in Chinese products from 10% to 25%, intended to apply additional pressure to ongoing negotiations.

President Donald Trump explained the move in a flurry of tweets this morning.

Related: Trump raises Chinese tariffs to 25%

As Farm Bureau economist Veronica Nigh notes, these tariffs have been threatened but delayed twice since last December.

“Under Annex B of the Sept. 21 notice, the rate of additional duty was set to increase to 25% on Jan. 1, but on Dec. 19, the U.S. Trade Representative published a new directive in the Federal Register, postponing the increase in the rate of the additional duty to 25% until March 2,” she writes. “After considerable negotiation between the United States and China, on Feb. 24, the president directed the USTR to again postpone the increase in tariffs. The bump from 10% to 25% on May 10 ends the speculation as to when/if the increase in tariffs would occur.”

China says it will retaliate but has yet to release a list of its own additional tariffs on U.S. goods, Nigh adds.

“Unfortunately, only time will tell,” she notes.

In the meantime, Farm Bureau has updated its list of U.S. food and agricultural products that could be affected – click here for details.

Related: Vice President Pence hints at more farm aid

Commodity groups were generally unsupportive of these latest updates.

“We have heard and believed the President when he says he supports farmers, but we’d like the President to hear us and believe what we are saying about the real-life consequences to our farms and families as this trade war drags on,” said Davie Stephens, soybean grower from Clinton, Ky., and president of the American Soybean Association. “Adding to current problems, it took us more than 40 years to develop the China soy market. For most of us in farming, that is two thirds of our lives. If we don’t get this trade deal sorted out and the tariffs rescinded soon, those of us who worked to build this market likely won’t see it recover in our lifetime.”

Related: Rep. Peterson responds to vice president's USMCA challenge

The move has corn farmers watching trade negotiations even as they try to focus on declining commodity prices and slow spring planting, according to National Corn Growers Association president Lynn Chrisp.

“Holding China accountable for objectionable behavior is an admirable goal, but the ripple effects are causing harm to farmers and rural communities,” he says. “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.”

About the Author(s)

Ben Potter

Senior editor, Farm Futures

Senior Editor Ben Potter brings more than 14 years of professional agricultural communications and journalism experience to Farm Futures. He began working in the industry in the highly specific world of southern row crop production. Since that time, he has expanded his knowledge to cover a broad range of topics relevant to agriculture, including agronomy, machinery, technology, business, marketing, politics and weather. He has won several writing awards from the American Agricultural Editors Association, most recently on two features about drones and farmers who operate distilleries as a side business. Ben is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

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