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Ag groups say Trump’s tariffs puts U.S. farmers in jeopardy

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The agriculture industry is bracing for potential retaliatory actions against American agriculture following President Trump’s announcement Thursday that he plans to implement tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union.

And rightfully so. Mexico has already responded saying they will impose tariffs on U.S. imports including pork bellies, apples, grapes, cheeses, and flat steel among other things.  The president of the European Commission said the bloc would move ahead with tariffs as soon as June 20 and would include 25 percent tariffs on goods such as motorcycles, denim, cigarettes, cranberry juice, and peanut butter. It is also taking up the Trump tariffs with the World Trade Organization. 

“The National Pork Producers Council has consistently stated its concern about retaliation against U.S. agriculture, including pork, in response to tariffs placed by the United States on steel and aluminum imports. Today’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum from Mexico and Canada, critical export markets, significantly heightens our concern as Mexico is already threatening to retaliate against U.S. pork. U.S. pork shipped $1.5 billion of product to Mexico, its largest export market, and $792 million to Canada, its fourth-largest market, last year,” said Jim Heimerl, president of the National Pork Producers Council and a hog farmer from Johnstown, Ohio.

The National Corn Growers Association is also worried about losing long-standing market access.

“Farmers are busy with planting season but are moving forward without knowing who will buy their crop when it’s harvested later this year. With a 52 percent drop in net farm income over the last five years and depressed commodity prices, this is not the time to face such a burden. This uncertainty impacts every step of the agriculture economy, from securing financing to marketing,” said North Dakota farmer and president of the National Corn Growers Association Kevin Skunes. “Imposing tariffs has the potential to undermine positive relationships with our closest allies and erode long-standing market access. NCGA urges policymakers to strengthen cooperation with our trading partners and stay at the negotiating table.”

The American Soybean Association (ASA) reiterated its significant concern with the Administration’s decision yesterday to move forward and apply a 25 percent tariff on nearly $50 billion in goods imported from China.

The looming threat of tariffs creates uncertainty in the marketplace and for soy growers, whose livelihoods rely on the ability to export their crops and products to China.

“This is real money to a soybean farmer trying to determine when to sell their crop,” said ASA President and Iowa farmer John Heisdorffer. “Farm income is projected to be the lowest in more than five years and farmers cannot afford to have the bottom fall out now.”

Tags: Trade War, Agribusiness, Agriculture News
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