By Ben Conner, USW Vice President of Policy
Tomorrow, June 15, 2018, marks the next step in the accelerating U.S.-China trade dispute as the Trump Administration plans to reveal its final tariff list on up to $50 billion in Chinese exports. China is expected to retaliate immediately, an outcome that could further erode the incomes of farm families who strongly support addressing the real concerns about China’s trade policies.
In marketing year 2016/17, China was the fourth largest export destination for U.S. wheat. That dropped to eighth in 2017/18, in part because of uncertainty about whether the U.S. would implement tariffs on Chinese goods.
U.S. Wheat Associates is not in the business of ceding a market like China with so much potential for growth. That is why in 2016 we called for World Trade Organization (WTO) cases intended to push China to meet its WTO commitments on domestic support and tariff rate quota management. We are happy that the Trump Administration supports and is pursuing those cases.
USW and the National Association of Wheat Growers know that farmers still want our organizations to keep fighting for fair opportunities to compete in China and other countries. They would prefer, however, to see our government do that within the processes already in place.
On June 1, 2018, USW and 17 other agriculture groups sent a letter to President Trump asking the Administration to continue negotiations to address trade concerns with China, rather than imposing mutually destructive tariffs
At this point it remains unclear what will happen after U.S. tariffs are implemented; but there no doubt that it will be a bumpy ride.