THE United States Grains Council, which develops export markets for US grains, has condemned the Trump administration’s move to impose tariff restrictions on China, saying it will mean “trying days ahead” for US agriculture.
The Trump administration has announced plans to impose tariffs on up to US$60 billion in annual imports from China and limit Chinese investment in the US.
“While we are not surprised, we are dismayed at new tariffs announced by the Trump Administration against China, which will almost certainly prompt immediate and painful retaliation against US agriculture and which have already complicated our global efforts to promote sales of US grains and grain products,” US Grains Council president and CEO, Tom Sleight, said.
“The farmers and exporters we represent have been here before in our relationship with China. Since 2010, we have been adversely impacted by trade policy actions by China against US distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), sorghum, ethanol and corn.
“We have supported targeted, US government efforts to address these issues but nevertheless remained dedicated to the China market because it holds immense growth potential for US agriculture.”
Mr Sleight said in the near term, the organisation would continue to work to diversify the markets to which US products were exported, focusing on sales that would support prices for this crop year.
“Based on our recent experience, we are well aware this work will be an uphill battle because our reputation as a reliable supplier has come into question,” he said.
“In the longer term, US agriculture must have a stable and coherent trade policy to thrive. The world is watching what our country does next – and markets have long memories.
“Agriculture is a positive contributor to the balance of trade, and the international marketplace offers the best available opportunity for growth in the US agriculture sector and the US economy as a whole.
“We will also continue to be in close contact with leaders at the US Department of Agriculture, the Office of the US Trade Representative and the White House who know how critical open markets are to our industry and have been attentive to our concerns.”
Source: US Grains Council