Brian Kuehl, Executive Director of Farmers for Free Trade, says the Section 301 tariff announcement against China is bad news for American agriculture.
The group says these tariffs will put a target on the backs of American farmers. Kuehl says, “In fact, in testimony this week, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says that ‘farmers get the short end of the stick’ when we raise tariffs like these on other countries. Given that China is the second-largest export market for American farmers and ranchers, the pain from retaliation could be significant.”
The group points out that state-run Chinese media has already indicated that American soy exports could be targeted. That would mean the nearly $14 billion in annual soy exports from American farmers could face an immediate tax. Other reports from China have said that American pork and sorghum exports could also be in the bullseye. “Nobody wins in a trade war,” Kuehl adds, “but it’s also true that some sectors of the economy lose more than others. Over the years, American agriculture has consistently paid the price for protectionism.”
With farm incomes declining, the last thing American farmers and rural communities can afford is a tax on the export market they rely on.