CHINA has moved to retaliate against United States Government tariffs on Chinese imports with a range of proposed import duties – including 25 per cent on US soybeans and other ag products such as cotton, corn and durum wheat – in what is looking like an escalating US-China trade war.
The US Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) lobby groups say the tit-for-tat trade moves will put US farmers “in the line of fire”.
In a joint statement overnight, the organisations said they believed wheat farmers would be hurt by the 25pc tariff China had proposed in response to the US Government’s announcement of new tariffs on $50 billion worth of imported Chinese goods.
“People may not know that China imported more than 61 million bushels of US wheat in marketing year 2016/17, making it our fourth largest buyer in the world,” USW chairman, Mike Miller, said.
“Farmers across the country have invested a lot of money and time over the years to develop a Chinese market that has great potential to buy even more American wheat.
“Now that effort is in jeopardy at a time when big global supplies have already pushed farm gate wheat prices down to unsustainable levels.”
“America’s wheat farmers are experiencing several hardships and adding a 25pc tariff on exports to China for US wheat is the last thing we need during some of the worst economic times in farm country,” NAWG president, Jimmie Musick, said.
“In a trade war, agriculture is always the first target. The Administration can support rural Americans by working with Chinese officials to avoid these damaging tariffs.”
USW and NAWG said they would prefer the US Government continued its fight for fair opportunities to compete in China and other countries through processes already in place, as the Administration had done by challenging China’s domestic support and tariff rate quota policies through World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute cases.
Both groups have said the proposed US tariffs represent unilateral actions that violate WTO rules, and have urged the Trump Administration to pull back what it says is a “dangerous course that puts vulnerable US industries like wheat production at risk”.
Source: USW, NAWG