Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst says it’s hard to remember a “more potentially calamitous week for U.S. agriculture.” He’s responding to President Trump’s second round of tariffs on Chinese imports and China’s proposed tariffs on American goods. Trump is proposing $50 billion and possibly another $100 billion in Chinese import tariffs. China has retaliated by proposing $50 billion in tariffs on U.S. products including beef, pork, soybeans, cotton, automobiles and aircraft.
“If fully implemented, China’s proposed tariffs spell trouble for Missouri agriculture. China is by far the leading destination for U.S. soybeans, with the country buying nearly two-thirds of all U.S. soybeans exported, and one-fourth of our total crop. The Trump administration has entered into a high-risk policy, one that can bring great benefits to our citizens, but one that is fraught with danger for farmers and the U.S. economy.
Hurst says the costs of failure will cripple agriculture for a generation.
“There is one thing for certain: Round after round of increasing import taxes between our two countries will make everyone poorer. There is no winner in a trade war without a negotiated peace,” he says.
A recent Purdue University study estimates that tariffs similar to ones proposed by China would cause a 40% decline in U.S. soybean exports and up to $3.3 billion in annual economic losses. Hurst says that figure doesn’t include the economic costs of lost sales of pork, corn, cotton, and beef, all important products for Missouri agriculture.
Trump’s tariffs take effect in 60 days.
“There is time for an agreement that can both satisfy U.S. farmers and protect U.S. companies and employees who have suffered because of past Chinese actions,” Hurst says.
Trump says the U.S. tariffs are meant to address China’s longtime illegal trade practices. He says China has chosen to retaliate by harming America’s farmers and manufacturers.
Southeast Missouri Republican Congressman Jason Smith, a key Farm Bureau ally, supports Trump’s tariffs on foreign aluminum and steel.