Negotiations didn’t work, so the Trump administration is relying on the economic discomfort of tariffs to force China to change its trade practices, said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Wednesday. Farm-state senators say there is a risk of the long-term loss of export markets as the dispute escalates.
Commodity prices are falling in the wake of President Trump’s threat of round after round of tariffs on China, and on Tuesday, groups representing wheat and soybean growers warned that the White House is making trouble for U.S. agriculture with its aggressive tactics.
The Farm Belt will get walloped if China retaliates in equal measure against Washington's $50 billion in announced tariffs on Chinese goods, said economists at Midwestern universities. Ohio State researchers said farmers in the Buckeye State could see a 50 percent drop in farm income while Iowa State's Chad Hart said producers in the Hawkeye State could lose up to $624 million this year, depending on how long the tariffs are in place and if other customers are found.
Despite a last-ditch effort by a group of radical conservationists, the vaquita — a small porpoise found only in Mexico’s Gulf of California — is going extinct, and will likely disappear this year, reports Ben Goldfarb in FERN’s latest story, published with Pacific Standard. No paywall
Mexico, the top importer of U.S. pork, announced retaliatory 10-percent tariffs on Tuesday, rising to 20 percent in a month's time, that would effectively shut the door to the American meat. One of every five pounds of pork produced in the U.S. is sold to a foreign buyer.
President Trump told American farmers on Monday, "By the time I finish trade talks," China, Canada and Mexico, the three largest customers for U.S. farm exports, will remove trade barriers to American products. The president issued the assurances on social media after inconclusive talks with China over the weekend and three days after he said he was open to separate trade deals with Mexico and Canada instead of an updated NAFTA.
In the heart of Iowa's rural 4th district, Democratic hopeful J.D. Scholten is making a bid for conservative Republican Steve King's congressional seat, appealing to farmer interests to win support for his campaign, according to FERN's latest story, by Brian Barth, produced in collaboration with Mother Jones. (No paywall)
One-third of U.S. agricultural trade flows through Canada and Mexico, and both nations quickly vowed tit-for-tat tariffs on U.S. food and ag products after President Trump announced duties on steel and aluminum from the North American neighbors on Thursday.
Stronger prices and rising demand for U.S. farm exports will propel sales to $142.5 billion for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, said the USDA on Thursday. It would be the second-highest export total ever.
Farmers are increasingly dour about the outlook for U.S. farm exports, with 27 percent expecting lower soybean prices in the year ahead — nearly double the figure from a month earlier, said a Purdue University poll of 400 producers.