WASHINGTON — When it comes to the trade game between the U.S. and China the cards aren’t all on the table, but a few hands have been dealt.
If wasn’t long after the United States imposed new tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum that China hit back with a proposed 25 percent tariff on imported U.S. goods, including soybeans. China purchases 61 percent of total U.S. soybean exports, and more than 30 percent of overall U.S. soybean production.
“It should surprise no one that China immediately retaliated against our most important exports,” said John Heisdorffer , American Soybean Association President. “We have been warning the administration and members of Congress that this would happen since the prospect for tariffs was raised. That unfortunately doesn’t lend any comfort to the hundreds of thousands of soybean farmers who will be affected by these tariffs. This is no longer a hypothetical, and a 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans into China will have a devastating effect on every soybean farmer in America.”
There is still a window of opportunity to reach a mutually beneficial trade position with China until the time that tariffs are fully implemented, according to Wesley Spurlock, chairman of the National Corn Growers Association
“We need to be measured, professional and business-like in our approach to keeping the trade doors open with China,” Spurlock said.” “Equally important, we need the President to understand the implications that these trade actions have for America’s farm families.”
But what if the two countries can’t see eye to eye before these proposed tariffs take effect?
“It is all a game of timing and this will be a matter of how long can one country go without the other,” said Mike Zuzolo from Global Commodity Analytics. ”The Chinese pork supplies are more than ample and Brazil has an excess supply of soybeans. Between those two factors, we probably have a 3 to 4 month time period when the Chinese won’t need to look our way for either of those products.”
A total 106 U.S. products are on a list that China says it will impose tariffs on. In addition to agriculture, the other two main areas targeted are aircraft and automobiles.
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