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US agriculture trade group slams Trump administration's tariffs on China

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-07-07 15:14
[Photo/VCG]

LOS ANGELES, July 6 - Farmers for Free Trade, a leading agriculture trade lobby group in the United States, issued two statements Friday denouncing tariffs slapped on China by the Donald Trump administration.

The tariffs imposed by the Trump administration on Chinese exports and China's retaliations would not only cost U.S. soybean farmers an entire year of hard work in the field but also kill market opportunities in future, said a statement from a Brent Bible soy and corn producer in Romney, Indiana.

"For soybean producers like me this is a direct financial hit. This is money out of my pocket," said the statement.

Soybeans are one US agriculture product predicted to be hit badly in the largest trade war in economic history since China is the top export market for US soybeans, accounting for almost 14 billion dollars in sales and representing roughly a third of total US soybean production in 2017.

"Over the long haul, soybean producers are deeply concerned that China will continue to substitute American soy with soy from our global competitors," the statement said, "the losses these tariffs represent can't and shouldn't be made up by government programs. Frustration is growing quickly in the heartland, we need this solved now."

The other statement was issued by Brian Kuehl, Executive Director of Farmers for Free Trade. The group placed advertisements on nationwide cable televisions last month, urging the White House to "end the trade war" against its partners including Canada, Mexico, China, the European Union and others.

Kuehl said Washington's actions "will only create more nightmare stories of farmer's livelihoods being squeezed."

"The evidence of pain from a now multi-front trade war is multiplying every day. From China canceling soybean orders, to cheese exports to Mexico plummeting, to farm equipment prices rising, the stories of financial loss are now rolling in from farms across America," the statement said.

"American farmers want trade, not tariffs. They want to compete and win, not be 'protected' by Washington D.C. from the foreign markets they've dominated for decades," it said.

"We need this Administration to end the trade war and to open new markets so farmers can get back to doing what they do best: selling made-in-America ag products across the globe," it added.

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