President Trump’s proposed 25 percent tariff on hundreds of Chinese products takes center stage this week in Washington, as hearings get underway and comments continue to arrive in the U.S. Trade Representative’s office.
The American Soybean Association formally submitted their comments earlier this week, saying that the threat of tariffs was already creating uncertainty in the marketplace and threatening the long-standing work of the U.S. soy industry to establish and expand foreign markets for U.S. beans. The organization asked trade representative Robert Lighthizer and the Trump Administration to reconsider the tariffs and “allow soybean farmers to be part of the solution instead of collateral damage from a potential trade war.” In response to the U.S. tariffs, China is threatening a 25 percent tariff on soybeans from the U.S., while already imposing tariffs and additional inspections on pork and other ag exports from the U.S.
More than 100 witnesses are scheduled to testify on the proposed tariffs. Montana rancher Michelle Erickson-Jones warned that the U.S. farm community was already feeling the effects of China’s threatened response. Speaking for Farmers for Free Trade, Erickson-Jones added that market interruptions could devastate the ag economy and drive some farms out of business.
The hearing and public comments come as negotiators from China are in Washington to discuss a possible way out of a trade war. At the center of the discussion is the Chinese phone manufacturer ZTE, which was slapped with an export ban following reported violations of trade sanctions with Iran and North Korea. According to the Hagstrom Report, relief for ZTE would be in exchange for a return to the status quo for U.S. agriculture.
From NAFB News Service