Escalating US trade war with China exacerbates weak farm economy – National Farmers Union
In retaliation against the most recent US escalation in an ongoing trade war, China announced August 23, 2019, that it will increase tariffs on US$75 billion worth of American goods, including a number of agricultural products.
“It’s no surprise that China is slapping even more tariffs on American products. Every time Trump escalates his trade war, China calls his bluff – and why would we expect any different this time around? asks National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson.
Starting on September 1, the country plans raise tariffs on American soybeans from 25 percent to 30 percent and on pork from 50 percent to 60 percent. On December 1, they will increase tariffs on corn, sorghum, and wheat from 25 percent to 35 percent.
And it’s no surprise that farmers are again the target. In just the past three years, US soybean exports to China have fallen nearly 80 percent, and once these tariffs kick in, things are likely to get worse. Things have been difficult for farmers long before this trade war rolled around. Farmers are making half of what they were in 2013, and they’ve taken on record levels of debt just to keep their doors open. Chronic overproduction continues to push commodity prices down, and extreme weather events and higher temperatures caused by climate change have made the job of growing food that much more challenging. But instead of looking to solve existing problems in our agricultural sector, this administration has just created new ones. Between burning bridges with all of our biggest trading partners and undermining our domestic biofuels industry, President Trump is making things worse, not better, said Roger Johnson.