The United States and China ended their second day of trade talks in Washington D.C. with no deal and no scheduled future meetings. The 90 minute meeting took place after President Trump increased tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods early Friday morning.
President Trump tweeted that the talks were “candid and constructive, but that the 25% tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods will remain in place. The President also added that the tariffs may or may not be removed depending on what happens with respect to future negotiations.
The President also directed USDA to work on a new aid package to help farmers due to the potential of the trade wars extending even longer.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, during his scheduled trip while in Japan, tweeted that the President is steadfast in his support for U.S. farmers. Perdue said, “@POTUS loves his farmers and will not let them down!” Vice President Mike Pence, on Thursday during a visit in Minnesota, that the Administration is considering aid to farmers beyond the Market Facilitation Payments that were already made.
The President tweeted out that with the money in tariffs that the U.S. would take in, we would buy agricultural products from our great farmers, in larger amounts than China ever did and ship it to poor and starving countries in the form of humanitarian assistance.
Reuters reports that the American Farm Bureau Federation and the American Soybean Association support a potential aid program to farmers.
The National Pork Producers Council put out a statement in support of buying agricultural products to help their members. David Herring is a pork producer from Lillington, North Carolina, and serves as President of the National Pork Producers Council:
“U.S. pork has suffered from a disproportionate share of retaliation due to trade disputes with Mexico and China. This retaliation turned last year — which analysts had forecast to be profitable — into a very unprofitable time for U.S. pork producers. The financial pain continues; the 20% punitive tariff on pork exported to Mexico alone amounts to a whopping $12 loss per animal.
“While there is no substitute for resolving these trade disputes and getting back to normal trade, NPPC welcomes the offer of assistance from President Trump. We stand ready to work with the USDA to facilitate U.S. pork exports as food aid to a number of nations. This assistance should not cannibalize commercial trade. Rather, it should help people in need who otherwise would not have access to this high-quality U.S. protein.
“Pork producers have been innocent bystanders in these trade disputes. 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.”
The announcement of the increase of tariffs’s from 10% to 25% on $200 billion of Chinese goods were met with concern from major commodity organizations: The American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers and National Corn Growers Association released a joint statement Friday morning.
Today, the U.S. Trade Representative moved forward with increasing the tariff rate from 10 to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. Farmers across the country are extremely concerned by the actions taken today by President Trump and his Administration. The National Association of Wheat Growers, the American Soybean Association, and the National Corn Growers Association were expecting a deal by March 1 before farmers went back into the fields but today saw an escalation of the trade war instead. The three commodities represent around 171 million of acres of farmland in the United States.
“U.S. wheat growers are facing tough times right now, and these additional tariffs will continue to put a strain on our export markets and threaten many decades worth of market development,” stated NAWG President and Texas wheat farmer Ben Scholz. “Further, members from both sides of the aisle and Chambers have reservations about the Section 232 tariffs in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Today’s announcement adds on another political barrier, which may hinder Congressional consideration of the Agreement.”
“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, soy grower from Clinton, Ky., and ASA President. “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.”
“Corn farmers are watching commodity prices decline amid ongoing tariff threats, even while many can’t get to spring planting because of wet weather. Holding China accountable for objectionable behavior is an admirable goal, but the ripple effects are causing harm to farmers and rural communities. 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,” said NCGA President Lynn Chrisp.
Growers have been reeling for almost a year now after the President first imposed a 25 percent duty on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods in July 2018, and later, a 10 percent duty on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese products, which resulted in the retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods. These are having a compounding impact not only on agriculture but all industries across the United States.
Source: Reuters, DTN, National Pork Producers Council, American Soybean Association