Opinion

Farm states need expedited resolution to U.S.-China trade fight

us-china trade war

Our farmers are the first target and we know that’s where the unintended consequences will fall is on our farmers and on our manufacturers,

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said one year ago of President Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on aluminum and steel entering the United States. Those “unintended consequences,” she said, could be “devastating” to Iowa and other agriculture states.

She was right.

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Agriculture continues to bear a heavy burden in the U.S.-China trade war Americans have watched escalate since those tariffs were imposed. According to the USDA, sales of U.S. farm commodities to China (Iowa is the second-largest exporter of ag products, behind only California, and leads the nation in soybean, corn and pork exports; China is the world’s second-largest importer of U.S. ag products) fell from more than $20 billion in fiscal 2017 to $16.3 billion in fiscal 2018 and are forecast to decline even more, to $9 billion, in this fiscal year. A recent Iowa State University report said Iowa farmers could lose up to $2.2 billion from U.S. trade wars with China and other nations, producing a ripple effect on state tax receipts, jobs and other industries.

Earlier this month, President Trump said a meeting between him and Chinese leader Xi Jinping to finalize a new trade agreement could happen before the end of March, but the U.S. and China have yet to set a date for a summit because neither side believes a deal is imminent, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

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