Smith: After the U.S. raised tariffs on Chinese imports, China responded by raising tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods. Dave Salmonsen, American Farm Bureau Federation senior director of congressional relations, says it means more lost market opportunities for American farmers. The new round of tariff increases doesn’t directly affect major U.S. commodities, but will still have an impact on agriculture.
Salmonsen: These products are you might say intermediate and final, consumer-ready products, not major commodities. These are things like salted beef products, frozen strawberries, canned vegetables, canned cherries, grape juice, malt beer products, but again, that’ll have an impact on the producers and sellers of those products.
Smith: Salmonsen says American farmers and ranchers are disappointed that tariffs were raised because it had looked like the end of the trade dispute between the U.S. and China might be getting close.
Salmonsen: Farmers are getting very anxious that what they thought was coming to an end, that we would see a rollback or elimination of some of these tariffs, perhaps what was included in the package would be announcements of major additional purchases of U.S. agricultural products by China, seems again to just be put off into the future.
Smith: The Trump Administration is putting together another aid package of approximately $15 billion to assist farmers and ranchers hurt by retaliatory tariffs. No one knows for sure when the funds will be ready, but Salmonsen says President Trump wants the package put together soon.
Salmonsen: Maybe there will be some differences. Maybe some more inclusion, a point there of overseas assistance using U.S. agricultural commodities, even more than we do already. So we’ll be looking out to see that plan and see how it fits the needs of those elements of agriculture, which now seems to be almost all of agriculture, that’s being affected by retaliatory tariffs.
Smith: Chad Smith, Washington.