Nearly All Ag Products to Be Hit with Tariffs, Administration Promises to Help Farmers06/04/2018
As expected, President Donald Trump’s announcement of tariffs targeting steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union led those major trading partners to announce retaliatory measures heavily targeting food and ag products.
What’s on the list: Agricultural products make up about one-third of the total EU retaliation list, in terms of value, with goods like kidney beans, rice, cranberries and peanut butter facing tariffs.
As of July 1, Canada will hit back on about $12.8 billion of U.S. imports – equal to the dollar value of how much in Canadian goods will be slapped with the new tariffs by Trump. Its list includes yogurt, coffee, orange juice, mayonnaise and mustard.
Mexico released a partial list of goods that will be subject to tariffs, zeroing in on pork, apples and various cheeses.
Concern among farmers mounts: The National Grains Council said it is bracing for farmers feeling the brunt. “These countries are among our closest neighbors and friends. We have spent years building markets in these countries based on a mutual belief that increasing trade benefits all parties,” the group said.
Corn farmers are moving into planting season not knowing who will purchase their crop when it’s ready for harvest, said Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association. “With a 52 percent drop in net farm income over the last five years and depressed commodity prices, this is not the time to face such a burden,” he said.
The Mexico list targets $1.14 billion in pork products – a hefty amount – as U.S. pork producers are already facing harm from China’s tariffs. The National Pork Producers Council called for an end to the trade dispute “so that hard-working U.S. pig farmers can do what they do best: meet global demand for one of our nation’s most competitive export products, one that favorably impacts U.S. trade imbalances with countries around the world.”
Pledges from U.S. officials: The Commerce secretary and USDA both reiterated that the Trump administration would help out farmers affected by the countermeasures. “As President Trump has made clear, he will not allow American agriculture to bear the brunt of retaliatory tactics,” said department spokesman Tim Murtaugh. “At the same time, USDA continues to work to expand existing markets and open new ones for American agricultural products in the global marketplace.”