As the U.S. and China hit each other with tariffs on another $34 billion worth of goods July 6, farmers are concerned for the U.S. ag sector, the primary target of China’s retaliation.
Grains, oilseeds, beef, pork, fruit, vegetables, dairy and tree nuts are targets of the 25 percent tariff China has promised.
The Alabama Farmers Federation’s Mitt Walker said the organization is optimistic President Donald Trump will reach an agreement to benefit farmers long term.
“It is unfortunate agriculture is facing the brunt of the retaliatory tariffs, but China is hitting us where it hurts most,” said Walker, the Federation’s National Legislative Programs director. “As negotiations play out, we are hopeful a deal is reached that benefits our farmers and all Americans.”
The threat of tariffs is pushing Chinese importers to shun U.S. soybeans and buy more soybeans and corn from Brazil.
China now buys roughly 60 percent of all U.S. soybeans — worth about $14 billion. A recent study from Purdue University predicts Chinese tariffs would result in a 65 percent cut in U.S. soybean exports.
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said Trump won’t relent unless China agrees to two things: an annual $200-billion decrease of China’s trade surplus with the U.S. and assurances China will stop confiscating U.S. intellectual property. Trump threatens to keep increasing tariffs if China retaliations continue.