U.S. and Chinese officials wrapped up trade talks with no deal. However, there wasn’t any breakdown in talks, even as the U.S. Trade Representative moved forward on raising import tariffs from 10 to 25 percent on $200 billion in Chinese goods. Farmers and agricultural organizations across the country are very concerned about the move. The National Association of Wheat Growers, the American Soybean Association, and the National Corn Growers Association were hoping a deal would be in place by March first, right before farmers started back into their fields. Instead, the trade war with China is escalating. “U.S. wheat growers are facing tough times right now,” says Wheat Growers Association President Ben Scholz, “and these additional tariffs will continue to put a strain on our export markets and threaten decades worth of market development efforts.”
Davie Stephens, ASA President, says his group believes President Trump supports farmers. “We’d like the President to hear us and believe what we are saying about consequences as the trade war drags on,” Stephens says. “Adding to the current problems, it took us 40 years to develop the China soy market. For most of us in farming, that’s two-thirds of our lives.” Lynn Chrisp, Corn Growers President, says corn farmers are watching the tariff battle as many can’t even get into fields to plant this year’s crop due to wet weather. The Administration says China has 3-4 weeks to come to an agreement or face tariffs on $325 billion in tariffs on items currently not covered by duties.
President Trump said on Twitter Friday that the U.S. will use its money from the tariffs to buy American agricultural products “in larger amounts than China ever did” and send it to “poor & starving countries” for humanitarian aid. The president indicated potential purchases of $15 billion from farmers.