Feinstein, NFU, Farm Bureau, Fisheries Institute criticize latest Trump tariffs
September 20, 2018
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and a range of agriculture groups have said that the new tariffs President Donald Trump imposed on Chinese goods Monday is likely to hurt U.S. producers and American consumers.
"Farmers have been hit the hardest by President Trump's trade war," Feinstein said in a news release.
"California farmers export approximately $20 billion a year in agricultural products, including $2 billion to China. Many of those products, like almonds and citrus fruit, are facing steep tariffs that make it harder for our farmers to compete overseas," Feinstein said.
"It's long past time for the president to reverse course. American workers and farmers can't afford to keep paying the price for President Trump's failed trade war," she added.
The National Farmers Union noted that the Chinese have responded with tariffs on $60 billion of American imports and that Trump's plan to place a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods with a threat of levying a tariff on another $267 billion will further escalate tensions.
NFU Vice President Public Policy and Communications Rob Larew said in a news release, "China has unquestionably engaged in unfair and manipulative trade behavior for many years. Though we agree with President Trump's effort to address these actions, we strongly disagree with his go-it-alone approach."
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"We believe he would be more successful in achieving fundamental reforms in China's trading tactics by leading the rest of the world in a united front.
"The administration's current strategy has created serious and potentially irrevocable problems for American farmers and ranchers. The loss of export markets and severely depressed commodity prices cost wheat, soy, and corn growers to the tune of $13 billion dollars in the month of June alone; yesterday's announcement to escalate tensions further will undoubtedly cost them billions more in the years to come.
"The effect these tariffs will have on export markets is clearly not a temporary problem, and as such, a temporary solution will not be sufficient. We call on Congress and the administration to establish meaningful, long-term safeguards that will prevent family farmers and ranchers from collapsing under the weight of a global trade war," Larew said.
The American Farm Bureau Federation's Market Intel report said in an analysis that since trading partners began applying tariffs in retaliation for Trump's tariffs, the industry has experienced a significant amount of uncertainty, price fluctuation and disrupted trade markets.
"For some already harvested commodities, like cherries, the impacts of lost sales and depressed prices are well known," wrote Veronica Nigh, a Farm Bureau economist.
"For other crops, like soybeans and corn, the impacts of current trade activities have been felt acutely by those who have sold in the spot market over the summer or watched helplessly as futures contracts swung wildly, but the feeling that the worst is yet to come hangs over producers.
"Farmers have been patient with the trade situation as it has unfolded over the last several months. We will all watch to see if that patience continues as the combines roll and farmers deliver or store a record-large crop at prices pushed lower than they already were by the trade disputes," Nigh concluded.
The National Fisheries Institute, which has previously pointed out that the Trump administration has placed tariffs on Chinese seafood that is processed in the United States, said that the latest round of tariffs exempted some seafood, but "marquee" items like salmon, crab and tilapia are still on the list for tariffs.
"This tariff-driven trade war continues to be a misguided strategy that will hurt U.S.-based seafood jobs and jeopardize important trade relationships," said Gavin Gibbons, vice president for communications at the institute.
"Americans who process seafood in Ohio will be hurt, along with those who portion it in Pennsylvania, deliver it in Minnesota and harvest it in Alaska," Gibbons said.
"Along with jeopardizing jobs, it's a tax on Americans. Less employment in the seafood sector combined with higher prices for the product is a recipe for disaster.
"The National Fisheries Institute calls on policy makers in both countries to negotiate an end to this before any more damage is done. Dueling tariffs continue to be a mistake. There is an old saying; an eye-for-an-eye leaves the whole world blind. It is especially apropos now," Gibbons said.