The move is a blow to farmers already struggling to make ends meet, the American Farm Bureau said
By Diego Flammini
China has suspended imports of all U.S. ag products in its latest move during the trade war between the world’s largest economies.
The action also comes after President Trump’s threat to impose 10 percent tariffs on nearly $300 billion worth of Chinese goods starting on Sept. 1.
“This is a serious violation of the (G20) meeting (in Osaka, Japan) between the heads of state of China and the United States,” Zhong Shan, China’s minister of commerce, said in a translated statement Tuesday.
China’s Commerce Ministry also didn’t rule out tariffs on newly purchased U.S. ag products after Aug. 3.
At that June 2019 meeting, China agreed to purchase at least 20 million metric tons of soybeans from the U.S. if the latter country agreed to hold off on new tariffs, reports indicate.
President Trump issued the tariff threat because China hasn’t held up its end of the deal, he tweeted.
U.S. ag exports to China have fallen sharply over the last year.
China has purchased US$1.3 billion less in U.S. farm products, including US$647 million less in grain, between the first half of 2018 and the same period in 2019, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) said.
The trade war’s damage has already been done to wheat and corn, but soybeans could still be affected, said Kim Anderson, a grain marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University.
“Before the 2018-19 marketing year, (the U.S.) had 30 percent of the Chinese wheat market but they only imported 127 million bushels,” he told Farms.com. “Corn had 16 percent of the market and it went to zero last year.
“Soybeans went from 34 percent to 17 percent, and that’s significant because there’s still potential there for an impact on prices.”
Other commodities like pork and beef could also be affected by China’s latest move, Anderson added.
U.S. ag organizations are urging the Trump administration to restore trade with China.
Producers rely on exports to operate a successful business. While the Market Facilitation Program payments help, they aren’t a substitute for open markets.
“China’s announcement that it will not buy any agricultural products from the United States is a body blow to thousands of farmers and ranchers who are already struggling to get by,” Zippy Duvall, president of the AFBF, said in a statement yesterday. “We urge negotiators to redouble their efforts to arrive at an agreement and quickly. Exports ensure farmers will continue to supply safe, healthful and affordable food here and around the world.”