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News Archive

Month: August 2018

As President Rallies in Evansville, Indiana Farmers and Manufacturers Bear the Costs of the Trade War

QUOTE FROM BRENT BIBLE, CORN AND SOYBEAN FARMER, LAFAYETTE, IN: “Farmers rely on exports and overseas markets to stay in business, but the trade war makes it harder and harder for us to stay afloat. Tariffs are allowing foreign competitors to sell to our customers at a better price than we can offer. If the trade war doesn’t end soon, tariffs could cause permanent damage to rural communities in Indiana and across the country.”

NEW TARIFFS TOOK EFFECT LAST WEEK. “The Trump administration’s latest round of tariffs on Chinese goods kicked in Thursday, drawing immediate retaliation from Beijing. The new exchange of fire in the trade war between the two economic superpowers came on the same day that a new round of negotiations in Washington over the dispute ended with little sign of progress.” (Katie Lobosco, “Trade War: The US and China Just Slapped New Tariffs on Each Other,” CNN, 8/23/18)

RETALIATORY TARIFFS COST INDIANA MORE THAN $1 BILLION. “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates the retaliatory tariffs in a burgeoning trade war could cost Indiana up to $1.1 billion, including in lost steel exports to Canada.” (Joseph S. Pete, “U.S. Chamber of Commerce: Retaliatory Tariffs Costing Indiana $1.1 Billion,” Times of Northwest Indiana, 8/25/18)

GLOBAL TRADE SUPPORTS MORE THAN 812,000 INDIANA JOBS. “The chamber also reported that 812,600 Indiana jobs are supported by global trade.” (Karen Caffarini, “As Tariffs Begin, Northwest Indiana Auto Workers and Farmers Share Concerns,” Chicago Tribune, 7/10/18)

FARMERS ‘PANICKED’ AS TRADE TENSIONS THREATEN AG INDUSTRY. “Austin Berenda, 18, saw the brunt of the changes earlier this summer. … ‘My family panicked,’ he said. Rather than continue to grow soybeans they had contracted for the season, the family sold all of their soybean crops ahead of time to ensure that, when the prices dropped from retaliations from foreign countries, they could salvage some money. ‘They claim it’s a long process, and if we stick it out it’ll eventually be better,’ Berenda said, referring to Trump’s administration. ‘But that’s so hard for a farmer to see when he takes less money, and when he has to depend on government assistance to stay afloat.’” (Erica Irish, “Indiana Farmers Talk Tariffs, Trump and GMOs,” Statehouse Files, 8/10/18)

TARIFFS ‘THREATEN TO UPEND’ INDIANA ECONOMY. “Trump’s aggressive imposing of tariffs on foreign imports to negotiate more favorable trading terms for American products threatens to upend a strong Indiana economy that exports $4.6 billion annually in agriculture commodities, according to government figures. The state is the nation’s fourth largest harvester of soybeans, and more than 100,000 jobs depend on farms that are 97 percent family-owned. … ‘The ag community is extremely nervous,’ Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, a Republican who oversees the state department of agriculture, said this week in an interview with the Washington Examiner.” (David Drucker, “Trump’s Trade War Has Indiana on Edge,” Washington Examiner, 8/8/18)

TRADE WAR DRIVES PRICES DOWN FOR SOYBEAN FARMERS. “The Department of Agriculture expects a record soybean crop in Indiana this year and a near-record corn crop. But that’s not expected to translate to big profits. Purdue economist Chris Hurt says farmers were expecting soybean prices around 10 dollars a bushel, a price that would let them cash in millions of unsold bushels from last year. That prediction looked good in June, but two things have driven the price down 16-percent since then. One is the record production. … And Hurt says the Trump administration’s tit-for-tat war of tariffs  with China has driven prices down further, by shriveling one of the largest markets for soybeans.” (Eric Berman, “Indiana Expects to Set a Soybean Crop Record. That’s Not Entirely Good News,” WIBC, 8/10/18)

NEW JOBS ON HOLD AS TARIFFS SCARE FOREIGN INVESTORS AWAY FROM INDIANA. “Japan is one of the state’s biggest investors. But, there might not be any more additional jobs, if there are more tariffs on the auto industry.” (Chris Davis, “Trump Tariff Plans Could Stall Japanese Investment in Indiana,” WIBC, 8/7/18)

TARIFFS EAT UP TAXPAYER DOLLARS THROUGH DELAYED GOVERNMENT PROJECTS. “Tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump’s administration may be increasing project costs for government agencies and homebuilders in Indiana. Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski told The Journal & Courier that local developers believe their construction costs have risen by 10 to 15 percent because of the tariffs.” (“Concerns Grow Over Tariffs’ Impact in Indiana,” AP, 8/12/18)

INDIANA MANUFACTURERS ARE LAYING OFF EMPLOYEES AS TARIFFS PUT ‘NAIL IN OUR COFFIN.’ “A Jeffersonville company is telling national media outlets that it’s had to lay off 75 employees since February because of tariffs. The CEO of Brinly-Hardy Co., which was founded in 1893 in Kentucky, but has been manufacturing lawncare accessories in Jeffersonville for 20 years, originally testified before the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in July about the damages tariffs have been wreaking on her business. Jane Hardy warned that the taxes on imported goods could be the “nail in our coffin” for her company, as prices have risen by as much as 37 percent for the domestic steel that Brinly-Hardy uses.” (Danielle Grady, “This Jeffersonville Company Says Tariffs Have Caused It to Lay Off 75,” Jeffersonville News and Tribune, 8/3/18)

TRADE WAR IS CAUSING ‘LAYOFFS AND PAIN’ FOR AMERICAN BUSINESSES. “President Donald Trump’s tariffs on imports of steel, aluminum, and some Chinese products have started pushing up prices for many US companies that rely on those items to create final products, forcing many firms to make tough decisions about where to cut costs. Many large companies have for now decided to pass on those costs to consumers or absorb the losses into their profit margins. But some smaller US businesses have been forced to cut labor costs to offset the higher amounts they’re paying for parts.” (Bob Bryan, “Trump’s Trade War Is Already Leading to Layoffs and Pain for American Businesses,” Business Insider, 8/9/18)

Statement on NAFTA Progress

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Brian Kuehl, Executive Director of Farmers for Free Trade issued the following statement on news that the U.S. and Mexico had reached a preliminary NAFTA deal, paving the way for talks to begin again with Canada.

“While any news of progress on restoring NAFTA certainty is reassuring for American farmers, there are questions that remain on the nature of a final deal. Farmers will ultimately be judging any new NAFTA deal by two crucial measures: will it provide any new market access for American ag exports and will it do anything that erodes the enormous gains the original NAFTA provided? On those points, it will be necessary for Canada to rejoin the negotiations and for an agreement to be reached among all parties before a judgement can be made. American farmers know better than most that a deal isn’t done until the ink is dry and all parties have agreed.

 “For our farmers, whose livelihoods depend on global markets, the end goal remains restoring NAFTA certainty, de-escalating a trade war that’s put them in the crosshairs, and returning to negotiating new trade agreements that open foreign markets hungry for made-in America farm exports.  While we are encouraged the Administration is seeking out NAFTA stability, there is still significant work that remains in delivering on the trade priorities for farmers, ranchers, and rural communities.”

10 Key Questions from Farmers on USDA Aid Package

(Washington D.C.) – Angela Hofmann, Deputy Director of Farmers for Free Trade, the bipartisan campaign working to oppose tariffs that harm farmers, ranchers, and rural communities, today released the following statement ahead of the release of expected guidance on the Department of Agriculture’s $12 billion aid package for a segment of farmers that have been impacted by tariffs.

“Since this package was announced last month we’ve traveled to rural communities across the country to hear directly from farmers. Their reaction to this package has almost uniformly been that they want contracts not compensation. The farmers shouldering the burden of this trade war also have significant questions about how the program would even work. Here are just some of the questions we have heard directly from farmers that we hope USDA will be able to answer when they announce details of the program.

  1. How will individual losses due to tariffs be calculated?
  2. Will some producers be compensated more than others?
  3. Will this program address the full range of producers who are being harmed? What happens to produce, fruit, nut, specialty crop and other farmers who may not be included in the aid package?
  4. How will these payments correct the underlying uncertainty in the market?
  5. Will small and mid-sized farmers get a smaller piece of the pie based on a “per bushel” calculation?
  6. Will farmers struggling with drought conditions get less or no relief because of reduced production?
  7. How will farmers be compensated for long-term impacts? Will there be a second aid package that addresses the more damaging long-term loss of markets?
  8. What, if any relief will be provided for rising input costs – including the rising cost of items like tractors, grain bins, and fencing?
  9. Will there be any payment limits?
  10. What will happen to product that is purchased as part of the direct purchasing programs? Will it be destroyed or go back on the market? How will this impact prices?

We continue to believe that the best way to ease the pain farmers are shouldering would be to resolve the trade war and begin work to restore long-term trade relationships. A one-time check won’t replace the disappearance of long-term contracts and relationships.

On Eve of New Tariffs, Sec. Wilbur Ross Tries to Sell Kentucky on Lost Jobs and Revenue

Trade War Threatens $1.5 Billion in Kentucky Exports

QUOTE FROM FARMERS FOR FREE TRADE BOARD PRESIDENT SARA LILYGREN: “Farmers and manufacturers have been told repeatedly to ‘be patient’ while their prices plummet and their export markets are taken over by foreign competitors. The trade war comes with a heavy price and the next round of tariffs will only hit American businesses even harder. We hope Secretary Ross hears from Kentucky farmers, manufacturers, and workers that it’s time to end the trade war so America’s heartland can start thriving once again.”

A NEW ROUND OF TARIFFS ON AMERICAN EXPORTS STARTS TOMORROW. “China has announced plans to put tariffs of 25% on US products worth $16 billion, the latest move in an escalating trade war. The Chinese government said in a statement Wednesday that the taxes would be imposed on August 23.” (Charles Riley, “China to Put 25% Tariffs on $16 Billion Worth of US Products,” CNN, 8/8/18)

BOURBON ON THE LINE: Amir Peay of James E. Pepper Distillery in Lexington, KY discussed the negative impact of tariffs with the Herald-Leader:  “For us smaller guys, this is exponentially more impactful in a negative way. What I wish is that they would figure out a way to eliminate these tariffs,” Peay said.

As Fox News reported August 21, “Bourbon production in the U.S. only recently recovered from a long slump to reach the levels of the 1970s. Even if there’s a successful NAFTA renegotiation, the industry could be hit hard by retaliatory tariffs exchanged between the U.S. and the European Union, which is the biggest market for the $1.5 billion in spirits that America now exports…Accidently starting a trade war would have consequences that would hurt all players – and could drive many of them to need a good stiff drink. But they would then find it’s suddenly a lot more expensive.”

FOUR OF THE FIVE TOP GROWTH MARKETS by dollar value for American distilled spirits are in Europe — the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain. Total U.S. spirits exported to the EU in 2017 were valued at $789 million.

HEADLINE: ‘KENTUCKY FARMERS BEING HURT BY TRADE TARIFFS.’ “‘A lot of billions of dollars, billions of dollars in trade, just soybeans itself,’ said Randy Mann, owner of Seldom Rest Farms. Mann said contracts made before these tariffs would still be honored. He spoke of the relationships made to trade the crop. ‘We have tried to do this for over 50 years going to Asia, which is a big deal,” Mann said. “We spent millions of dollars trying to invest in that market to become where we’re at today.’ But if America doesn’t come out on top of the trade war, the fear is that other exporters, like South American countries, might catch up.” (Madison Martin, “Kentucky Farmers Being Hurt By Trade Tariffs,” WBKO, 7/23/18)

SOME SOYBEAN FARMERS ARE LOSING HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS. “In a tweet last month, President Donald Trump exulted that ‘tariffs are the greatest!’ … But don’t tell that to Ryan Bivens and his wife Misty, who grow soybeans on 3,000 acres in Kentucky’s LaRue and Hardin counties. They stand to lose as much as $400,000 this year as a result of the tit-for-tat trade war in which China, responding to U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum, has retaliated with levies of its own on $44.9 billion worth of U.S. goods – including soybeans. (Andrew Wolfson, “Trump’s Trade Wars Come with $400K Bill for One Kentucky Soybean Farmer,” Louisville Courier-Journal, 8/16/18)

  • TARIFFS CREATE ‘UNCERTAINTY AND LOSS OF INCOME’ FOR FARMERS. “Kentucky soybean farmers are struggling with uncertainty and loss of income because of tariffs imposed by China, in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s tariffs on Chinese products coming into the U.S. … About 60 percent of U.S. soybeans are exported to China. Some trade experts predict that market could be lost for the long-term unless the tariff issue is resolved and the trusted trade relationship built over decades is restored. Other countries, like Brazil, could begin to fill China’s requirements for soybeans.” (Rhonda Miller, “Kentucky Soybean Farmers Feeling the Financial Strain of China Tariffs,” WVXU, 8/10/18)

FARMERS, MANUFACTURERS QUESTION WHETHER TARIFFS WILL SOLVE UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICES. “Soybean farmers like Larry Thomas, president of the soybean association, agree the U.S. had to take some action on unfair trade, but they question the president’s method. ‘China has been cheating on our trade deals for decades and we needed to do something,’ he said. ‘But I don’t know that tariffs were the right answer.’ (Andrew Wolfson, “Trump’s Trade Wars Come with $400K Bill for One Kentucky Soybean Farmer,” Louisville Courier-Journal, 8/16/18)

  • ‘THE CURE IS WORSE THAN THE DISEASE.’ “Added David Tatman, former manager of General Motors’ Corvette plant in Bowling Green and now executive director of the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association, which represents 500 auto plants statewide: ‘We are all for a level playing field, but not if the cure is worse than the disease.’” (Andrew Wolfson, “Trump’s Trade Wars Come with $400K Bill for One Kentucky Soybean Farmer,” Louisville Courier-Journal, 8/16/18)

KENTUCKY AUTO INDUSTRY ALSO PAYS A PRICE FOR TARIFFS. “President Donald Trump’s tariffs on the auto industry could hurt Kentucky. The Bluegrass State has been home to Toyota for more than three decades. The plant in Georgetown has the capacity to produce 550,000 vehicles.However, those investments could be in jeopardy because of the government’s threat to impose a 25 percent tariff on imported vehicles. Georgetown built Camrys and Avalons are among the vehicles Toyota exports to 31 countries.” (“Tariffs Could Hurt Kentucky’s Toyota Plant,” WHAS, 7/20/18)

AUTOMOTIVE PRODUCTION WORKERS OPPOSE TARIFFS. “Dozens of employees from Toyota’s 10 U.S. assembly plants were in Washington, D.C., today to oppose the government’s threat to impose a 25% tariff on imported vehicles and parts. They were joined by U.S. production workers from other international automakers across the country… If tariffs are imposed, Toyota estimates the cost of the Kentucky-built Toyota Camry will increase by $1,800, the Texas-built Tundra truck by $2,800 and the Indiana-built Sienna minivan by $3,000.” (“Toyota Production Workers Oppose Tariffs, Automotive World, 7/19/18)

TARIFFS PUT MORE THAN $1.5 BILLION IN KETUCKY EXPORTS AT RISK. “The exact cost of the ongoing trade war to Kentucky has yet to be calculated. But the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says the total value of exports from Kentucky at risk from retaliatory tariffs is $1.535 billion and involves 539,000 jobs. The exports include everything from aluminum waste and bourbon to postcards and steel tanks.”

KENTUCKY AMONG HARDEST-HIT STATES IN TRADE WAR. “Exporters in manufacturing-heavy states such as Alabama, South Carolina and Kentucky are among those that stand to lose the most from a protracted trade war with China, according to a U.S. News analysis of government trade data that suggests newly erected trade barriers into the Chinese market could stifle industries shipping billions of dollars of goods into Asia’s largest economy each year. … Alabama, for example, is expected to suffer from exports targeting a passenger-vehicle market that sent more than $2 billion in products to Asia’s largest economy last year. Similar dynamics are expected to play out in South Carolina and Kentucky – two other manufacturing- and automotive-heavy states.” (Andrew Soergel, “Southern States Among Hardest Hit By China Tariffs,” US News and World Report,” 8/17/18)

Farmers for Free Trade Purchases Billboards, Radio Ads in North Dakota Ahead of Commerce Secretary Ross’s Thursday Visit

(Fargo, N.D.) — Farmers for Free Trade purchased billboard and radio ads to send a clear message to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who will visit North Dakota this Thursday to discuss the impact of tariffs and trade on farmers and the agriculture industry broadly. For the week of August 20, eight billboards throughout Fargo will rotate with the message, “Secretary Ross, Tariffs Hurt ND Farmers.”

The billboards are running now. Below is an example of how they appear. Radio ads that highlight the impact of tariffs on North Dakota farmers will run on Thursday, August 23rd in the Fargo market.

“Farmers and manufacturers have been patient, giving time to the president to see if these will work. But prices are plummeting and export markets have been taken over by foreign competitors. We hope that Secretary Ross hears from North Dakota farmers, manufacturers and workers that it’s time to end the trade war, so America’s heartland can start thriving once again. It’s past time that we open new markets to American exports instead of erecting new barriers,” said Brian Kuehl, executive director of Farmers for Free Trade.

Soybean exports are a core component of North Dakotan farmers’ bottom lines. North Dakota exports roughly two-thirds of its annual $2 billion soybean crop to China. Already this year, Chinese buyers have cancelled all of their orders for food-grade soybeans, valued between $1.2 to $1.5 million. If the United States and China don’t resolve the trade dispute, farmers may not be able to meet their payments and could lose financing to plant next year’s crop. These slashes to the bottom line are unsustainable, and farmers want to see the president focus on open access to international markets for their products.

Farmers for Free Trade is a bipartisan campaign to rebuild support for trade and is dedicated to supporting and expanding the economic benefits of free trade for farmers and ranchers. Farmers for Free Trade is supported by America’s leading agricultural organizations and businesses and farmers and ranchers across the country. Farmers for Free Trade is working to keep, enhance and advance trade agreements by lending a pragmatic voice to negotiations impacting the industry.  Farmers for Free Trade is co-chaired by former U.S. Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Richard Lugar (R-IN). For more information, please contact [email protected], follow us @FarmersForTrade or visit www.FarmersForFreeTrade.com.

 

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As Trade War Escalates, Tariffs are Costing California Farmers Billions

New UC Davis Study Estimates $3.4 Billion In Losses for State’s Biggest Agriculture Exports

QUOTE FROM BRIAN KUEHL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, FARMERS FOR FREE TRADE: “As the biggest agricultural exporter in the country, California has the most to lose as commodity prices drop and markets disappear. The USDA has attempted to mitigate some of the damage with $12 billion in payments for farmers across the country, but the hit to California fruit and nut exports alone would amount to more than a third of the USDA’s entire compensation program. One trip to the Central Valley is all it should take for Secretary Perdue to see the cost of the trade war firsthand and urge the president to change direction before the damage gets any worse.”

NEW UC DAVIS STUDY ESTIMATES TARIFFS COST CALIFORNIA FRUIT AND TREE NUT FARMERS $3.4 BILLION ANNUALLY. “In summary, we find the trade losses for the commodities under consideration to be about $2.64 billion per year using the export value lost as a measure. Alternatively, using the potential impact on price in remaining markets as the measure of loss, the magnitude is about $3.34 billion.” (Daniel A Sumner and Tristan M. Hanon, “Economic Impacts of Increased Tariffs that have Reduced Import Access for U.S. Fruit and Tree Nuts Exports to Important Markets,” UC Davis Agriculture Issues Center, 8/1/18)

USDA SECRETARY SONNY PERDUE IS VISITING CALIFORNIA’S CENTRAL VALLEY THIS WEEK. (Twitter)

MODESTO BEE: ‘TRUMP’S TARIFFS ARE HURTING OUR FARMERS.’ “It’s a good thing U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has two ears. On the subject of Donald Trump’s reckless and destructive trade war, Perdue has already gotten one earful, and today we hope he gets another. This trade war is hurting farmers across America, but it’s especially painful in Stanislaus, Merced and south San Joaquin counties.” (“Trump’s Tariffs Are Hurting Our Farmers,” Modesto Bee Editorial, 8/13/18)

  • ‘FARMERS WERE URGED TO SIT TIGHT’ AS TRADE WAR TOLL ESCALATES. “Farmers were urged to sit tight as the master deal-maker worked his magic. Since then, more tariffs and more retaliation. It’s so bad that Trump is now asking for a $12 billion to help farmers who grow corn, cotton, pork and soybeans. We grow those things, too, but they’re insignificant compared to our fruits, nuts, vegetables and wines.” (“Trump’s Tariffs Are Hurting Our Farmers,” Modesto Bee Editorial, 8/13/18)

FARM EXPORT PRICES ARE DROPPING AT HISTORIC RATE: “Prices for U.S. farm exports dropped in July by the most in more than six years as a trade war with China heated up, Labor Department figures showed Tuesday. Agricultural export prices fell 5.3 percent from the prior month, the biggest drop since October 2011, as soybean prices plummeted 14.1 percent. Export prices for corn, wheat, fruits and nuts also slumped in July. The overall export price index dropped 0.5 percent, the most since May 2017, the department said. The figures exclude the price effect from any tariffs.” (Jeff Kearns, “U.S. Farm Export Prices Drop Most Since 2011,” Bloomberg, 8/14/18)

  • CALIFORNIA EXPORT PRICES ARE PLUMMETING. “Demand for California almonds has plummeted 47 percent, according to Beacon Economics. California wine exports fell 15 percent and cherries 36 percent. China is the sixth-largest importer of California walnuts at $106 million, and they’re getting a 20 percent tariff along with pistachios.” (“Trump’s Tariffs Are Hurting Our Farmers,” Modesto Bee Editorial, 8/13/18)

CALIFORNIA FARMERS ‘GETTING THE SHORT END OF THE STICK.’ “Adding insult to injury, in Trump’s tariff relief for farmers, California is getting the short end of the stick. Starting in September, the $12 billion package will give cash to the producers of commodities such as corn, cotton, pork, soybeans and wheat – all grown in red states. But big-money crops from deep-blue California? Fruits, nuts, vegetables and wine will apparently only be eligible for federal government purchases of surplus produce.” (“Trump Slammed California Famers with Tariffs. Now He Is Stiffing Them on Aid,” Fresno Bee Editorial, 8/13/18)

CALIFORNIA TREE NUT FARMERS PAY A HEAVIER PRICE THAN MOST. “The United States is the largest producer and exporter of tree nuts such as almonds, walnuts and pecans. That’s why international trade is so vital to this industry. It’s also why the hefty retaliatory tariffs that China has imposed and the ones India is threatening to levy have left many growers uncertain about their next steps. Sales are faltering, prompting some growers to hold off on buying new equipment and others to halt plans to plant more trees. The trade war is hurting California, in particular, since that’s where many tree nuts grow. The Golden State produces more than 80% of the world’s almonds and exports 70% of them, according to the Almond Board of California. This year is expected to be a record crop of 2.45 billion pounds.” (Tami Luhby, “Tariffs Could Take a Big Toll on America’s Nut Farmers,” CNN, 8/9/18)

TRADE WAR EVEN HURTS CALIFORNIA WILDFIRE VICTIMS. “The import tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump are adding thousands of dollars to the cost of building homes. That especially squeezes homeowners who seek to rebuild quickly after losing their houses to natural disasters, such as the wildfires scorching parts of California. The Trump administration’s tariffs have raised the cost of imported lumber, drywall, nails and other key construction materials. One building association official said the tariffs could raise the price of a typical new home in California by up to $20,000, and it could be more for individual homes being custom-built on short order.” (Geoff Mulvilhill, “Trump’s Trade War Stings California Wildfire Victims,” Associated Press, 8/11/18)

What They Are Saying…

Conservative Media Continues Weighing in Against Trumps Tariffs  

Townhall: Farmers Backed Trump But Suffer from His Trade War

Trade-warring and the retaliatory tariffs that those conflicts produce do not have a good effect on American produce and related industries. Just in recent days, we’ve seen reports that wheat farmers, hog farmers, soybean farmers, almond farmers, beer brewers, lobstermen, dock workers, and so many others are being affected.

Weekly Standard: Meet the Winners of the Trade War

The tariffs are damaging a broad range of industries, including agriculture and consumer goods, but a closer look at the soybean market reminds us just how damaging even well-meaning governmental interventions can be. After Trump imposed steel and aluminum tariffs in March and additional tariffs on China in July, China retaliated with 25 percent tariffs on U.S. soybeans and other agricultural products. It’s a crucial U.S. export: Of the $20 billion in U.S. agricultural goods that went to China last year, more than half was in soybeans. China’s move sent U.S. soybean prices plunging nearly 20 percent, to the detriment of Midwestern farmers.

Fox News: California farmers say China’s new tariffs couple cripple industry

China and the U.S. continue racing toward one another in a game of economic chicken, as both promise to retaliate in a tit-for-tat trade war that shows no sign of ending before 2019. That prospect has California farmers fearing they will lose long-standing customers, creating a glut for their commodities and lower prices.

The Blaze: Report: It would cost taxpayers $39 billion to bailout industries hurt by Trump’s tariffs

Bailing out every industry hurt by President Donald Trump’s tariffs would cost taxpayers $39 billion, according to an analysis from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. On July 24, the White House announced that it would be giving $12 billion in emergency aid to U.S. farmers to counteract the impact of tariffs on their profits.

Washington Examiner: Farmers brace for bitter harvest under Trump’s trade war

U.S. agricultural exporters are bracing for a rough harvest season that seems likely to result in dramatic reductions in crop prices, thanks in large part to overseas retaliation for President Trump’s tariffs on billions of dollars worth of imports.

Wall Street Journal: I Won’t Ride the Trump Train Into a Trade War

Unfortunately, these successes may now be more than offset by President Trump’s irrational trade war. It’s a fair point that China and some other countries heavily restrict imports, constrain foreign businesses, and steal advanced technologies. Countering these actions is a worthy goal. But it won’t work to punish China and others by curtailing the amounts that Americans buy from them through imports.

The Spokesman-Review: McMorris Rodgers, Rep. Mike Conaway meet with farmers, call for action on trade

“Our voices have been, ‘Mr. President get this trade stuff done,’ ” Conaway said. “It’s unsettling the markets in a big way, none more unsettled than the ag markets.” McMorris Rodgers said she has never supported Trump’s decision to place tariffs on steel and aluminum, which prompted China to place retaliatory tariffs on many crops exported from Washington. “Tariffs are taxes and these across-the-board tariffs are leading to trade wars that I fear are negatively impacting agriculture as well American producers and manufacturers,” she said.

Karl Rove: What Will Convince Trump On Trade?

History and economic theory prove that free trade is the path to growth and protectionism the path to decline.

Daily Caller: Trump’s Economic Success has Unleashed America’s True Entrepreneurial Spirit

Trump knows that, on a level playing field, American businesses and workers will be more innovative and will outwork any competitor on Earth. To keep this innovation going, it’s important for government leaders to make the right policy decisions. Instead of potential trade wars and tariffs, it’s important that the slow hand of government gets out of the way of activities that drive economic growth.

 

NEW UC ANR STUDY: Fruit and Nut Tariffs Estimated to Cost $3.4 Billion Annually

California Agriculture Industry Gets Hammered By Tariffs as USDA Secretary Visits Central Valley

WASHINGTON – A new study from the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources’ Agricultural Issues Center finds that tariffs on 10 fruit and tree nut exports alone are estimated to cost the United States $3.4 billion annually. According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, fruit and tree nuts account for more than half of the state’s agricultural exports. Fruits and nuts are unlikely to receive direct payments through the Market Facilitation Program and will be limited to the Food Purchase and Distribution Program as part of the Trump administration’s $12 billion relief package.

The study was released as United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue visits California’s Central Valley at a time when farmers are paying the price of the trade war and potentially losing their markets to foreign competitors.

“The trade war comes with a steep price for farmers in California and across the country,” said Farmers for Free Trade Executive Director Brian Kuehl. “Producers and growers have spent years cultivating markets for commodity exports, only to see foreign competitors capture those markets overnight. Tariffs hurt American farmers by depressing prices and taking away their ability to compete. We hope Secretary Perdue hears from farmers who are experiencing the pain caused by tariffs firsthand and urges the president to change course before any more damage is done.”

As part of its Tariffs Hurt the Heartland Campaign, Farmers for Free Trade is hosting agribusiness roundtables this week in Bakersfield and Fresno to discuss the importance of trade, the costs of the trade war, and its negative impact on American exports, particularly in the agriculture and manufacturing industries. Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.-16) will attend this week’s roundtable in Fresno. Not limited to California, Farmers for Free Trade has been hosting bipartisan roundtables with Members of Congress all across the United States.

“Lawmakers are advancing policies that hurt the very people who drive our economy,” Kuehl added. “These roundtables will share the stories of farmers, manufacturers, workers, and families who have been hurt by the trade war through lost jobs, cancelled contracts. The UC study only further drives the point that tariffs are hammering America’s heartland and the trade war comes with heavy costs for American producers and businesses that rely on exports to pay their bills, put people to work, and drive our economy.”

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As Trade War Escalates, Costs Mount for Missouri

New Tariffs Threaten to Escalate Damage as Prices for Goods Drop, Markets Disappear

QUOTE FROM ALAN WEBER, FARMER AND AGRICULTURAL ECONOMIST, MARSHALL, MO: “As producers we keep hearing that we need to be patient as the trade war continues to escalate. It’s getting harder and harder to be patient while tariffs are causing long-term damage for Missouri farmers. International markets we have worked years to develop are disappearing as competitors move in and commodity prices continue to drop. It’s time to end the trade war before tariffs cause any more economic pain for rural America.”

‘MISSOURI FARMERS SAY TRADE WAR THREATENING THEIR BUSINESS AND LEGACY.’ “Some Missouri farmers say they are losing money and are concerned they could lose their farms due to the Trade War with China. ‘I’ve been a  farmer since 1951 and it looks like that maybe this might be that first year that we’re going in the red,’ said Dale Edmondson, an  87-year-old farmer in Polk County.  He says he has 7,000  bushels of soybeans from last year that haven’t yet been sold. ‘We’re at the mercy of the market,’ he said. ‘I have survived droughts. I have survived high interests. And I’ve survived a lot of things, but I don’t know whether we can survive this trade war or not.’” (Jennifer Abreu, “Missouri Farmers Say Trade War Threatening Their Business and Legacy,” OzarksFirst.com, 8/8/18)

WHITE HOUSE FURTHER ESCALATED TRADE WAR WITH NEW TARIFFS. “The Trump administration announced Tuesday it is moving forward with a 25 percent tariff on $16 billion in Chinese goods, further escalating a trade war with Beijing. The new tariffs will take effect on Aug. 23 and will impact 279 product lines, down from the original 284 that were proposed on June 15, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said. Products to be impacted include electronics, plastics and railway freight cars.” (Michael Collins, “Trump Escalates Trade War with 25 Percent Tariffs on Another $16 Billion in Chinese Goods,” USA Today, 8/7/18)

HOG FARMERS FACE OPERATING LOSSES THANKS TO TARIFFS. “Due to the increased supply of pork this year coupled with the tariffs placed on pork exports to Mexico and China, prices are expected to drop significantly. ‘They estimate that this will further decrease the price by about $9 per head,’ Doherty said. ‘So, we are already looking at some kind of a loss per head going into late 2018 and then into 2019. Basically, it’s making a bad situation worse.’” (“Excess Pork Supply, Tariffs Mean Losses for Illinois Pork Farmers,” WQAD, 8/6/18)

PRICES ARE DOWN 20 PERCENT FOR MISSOURI’S ‘MOST VALUABLE CASH CROP.’ “Soybean prices have dropped by more than 20 percent. … ‘Right about the time when we were putting seed in the ground, that’s when the tariffs were announced and eventually just went into effect and everything fell apart from there,’ said James Tucker, a farmer in southern Polk and northern Greene counties. … ‘I feel like we are caught in the middle,’ Tucker said. ((Jennifer Abreu, “Missouri Farmers Say Trade War Threatening Their Business and Legacy,” OzarksFirst.com, 8/8/18)

  • “Soybeans are the state’s most valuable cash crop, and the export market is hugely important for farmers.” (David Nicklaus, “The Case of the Missing Soybeans, or Why Tariffs’ Missouri Effect Is Being Underestimated,” Louis Post Dispatch, 7/3/18)

MISSOURI MANUFACTURERS FORCED TO LAY OFF EMPLOYEES AS COSTS SKYROCKET DUE TO TARIFFS. “Now, however, our paper-tape plant is idle. On June 1, the U.S. imposed Section 232 duties of 25% on certain kinds of steel, including the wire we use to make nails. Our costs shot up overnight, and it became impossible to sell nails competitively. Orders dropped 70% in two weeks, and our workforce shrank from 500 employees to 370.” (Chris Pratt, “When the Only Tool You Have Is a Tariff,” Wall Street Journal, 8/1/18)

  • FOREIGN COMPETITORS ARE MAKING MORE MONEY WHILE AMERICAN COMPANIES PAY A HEAVY PRICE. “Meanwhile, our competitors from such countries as China, Taiwan, Oman, India and Turkey pay no tariff on their finished nails. They can make their nails at home—using low-priced, globally sourced wire—and ship the finished product to the U.S. with an enormous price advantage.” Chris Pratt, “When the Only Tool You Have Is a Tariff,” Wall Street Journal, 8/1/18)

TRADE WAR THREATENS $880 MILLION IN MISSOURI EXPORTS. “The Missouri Chamber of Commerce estimates the state could lose  $880 million because of this trade war.” (Jennifer Abreu, “Missouri Farmers Say Trade War Threatening Their Business and Legacy,” OzarksFirst.com, 8/8/18)

TRADE SUPPORTS MORE THAN 826,000 MISSOURI JOBS. (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

AMERICAN FARMERS ‘THE PRIMARY LOSERS’ AS FOREIGN COMPETITORS EAT UP OVERSEAS MARKETS. “Of the $20 billion in U.S. agricultural goods that went to China last year, more than half was in soybeans. China’s move sent U.S. soybean prices plunging nearly 20 percent, to the detriment of Midwestern farmers. But not everybody’s suffering. In a recent research note, economists from market-research firm TS Lombard observed that ‘global trading firms will easily skirt China’s soybean tariffs and leave U.S. growers the primary losers’ and that ‘the big winners will be Brazilian farmers and the big grain companies.’ (Editorial, “Meet the Winners of the Trade War,” Weekly Standard, 8/7/18)

THERE’S ‘NO END IN SIGHT’ FOR TRADE WAR, EVEN AS COSTS MOUNT. President Donald Trump’s trade dispute with China is entering its sixth month, and there are no signs it will end anytime soon. Both Trump and China continue to issue new threats of tariffs. And negotiations have been scarce, increasing the possibility of a drawn-out trade war. Ed Mills, a policy analyst at Raymond James, said in a note to clients that while the possibility of a breakthrough deal remained, it was unlikely to come without increased trade restrictions. ‘We remain extremely concerned about the potential volatility between now and a breakthrough, especially as both sides are more inclined to elevate tension than blink,’ Mills said.” (Bob Bryan, “There’s No End In Sight for Trump’s Trade War with China, because ‘Both Sides Are More Inclined to Elevate Tension than Blink,” Business Insider, 8/6/18)

CONSUMERS WILL PAY FOR TARIFFS WITH COST OF GOODS AND SERVICES SET TO SPIKE. “The prices of consumer goods including headphones, speakers, high-tech lighting and internet service could all go up if the U.S. trade war with China continues. The Trump administration’s hit list of Chinese products facing import taxes will nail networking equipment that makes the internet work. It includes key components used in gadgets that can be wirelessly operated through a smartphone or another device.” (MoneyWatch, “China Trade War Could Raise Prices on Tech Products, Internet,” CBS News, 8/7/18)

  • ‘ACROSS THE BOARD’ PRICE INCREASES FOR EVERYDAY ITEMS “So could a trade war cost consumers more for the things they buy, as some economists have predicted? ‘Absolutely, you’re going to see higher prices passed on to consumers … almost immediately,’ Matt Gold, a former deputy assistant U.S. Trade Representative for North America under former President Barack Obama, told CNBC recently. … Given that tariffs [are] a duty imposed by a government on goods imported from other countries, the costs are often passed along to consumers via high prices. … Gold added that for consumers, those higher costs will be spread ‘really across the board.’” (Trent Giles, “Pricier Soda and Food: How Tariffs are Set to Hit Your Wallet,” CNBC, 7/29/18

The Tariff Toll: Tracking Stories of Damage from the Trade War in Communities Across America

UPDATED: Local businesses are facing rising costs due to tariffs. The National Fisheries Institute is highlighting the plight of the seafood industry which relies heavily on imports and exports, and has paid a particularly heavy price. Watch the videos they’ve produced below and at ABOUTSEAFOOD.COM

Tariffs Hurt the Heartland is a coalition that tells the stories farmers, manufacturers, workers, and consumers across America who are paying the price of the ongoing trade war.

MORE AT ABOUTSEAFOOD.COMTARIFFSHURT.COM

MAINE

Brown Trading Company, Portland, ME: “Without the option to import seafood, it would drastically affect our business.”

            

WATCH: Jack Lombard of Portland, ME Talks Seafood Sourcing

Upstream Trucking, Portland, ME: “If we stop importing fish from other countries, other countries will stop doing business with us.”

 

WATCH: Seafood Industry Veteran in Portland, ME Talks Trade

44 North Coffee, Stonington, ME: “The lobster industry is the cornerstone of our community.”

 

WATCH: Rural Entrepreneur Talks Jobs in Maine

Island Fishing Gear, Stonington, ME: “I Honestly do not know what would happen to this community without the fishing industry.”

WATCH: Women-Owned Business in ME Depends on Healthy Seafood Trade

Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries, Stonington, ME: “Things like these tariffs…the cost of operation will probably go up… and that’s expensive.”

 

WATCH: Tariffs Increasing Business Costs Bad for U.S. Fishermen

MASSACHUSETTS

Slade Gorton & Co., Boston, MA: “Without the import of fish, the company would be out of business.”

 

WATCH: Rodolfo Alvarez’s Job in Boston, MA Relies on Global Seafood

Slate Gorton & Co., Boston MA: “Without being able to import fish, we would have quite a difficult time servicing our customers.”

 

WATCH: Food Safety Expert Talks Global Seafood Supply

Burke’s Seafood Market, North Quincy, MA: “Prices could really change dramatically if some of these tariffs are passed on.”

 

WATCH: Matt Burke of Quincy, MA Talks Tariff

Preferred Freezer Services, Boston, MA: “Imported seafood really runs our business…If imported seafood were to slow down, or if there were to be no such thing, then my job would most likely not exist.”

 

WATCH: Cold Storage Worker Discusses Global Sourcing

NEW HAMPSHIRE

High Liner Foods, Portsmouth, NH: “Having products imported in can literally keep people like me employed.”

 

WATCH: Chef Says Importing Variety of Seafood Essential

 High Liner Foods, Portsmouth, NH: “If we were not importing seafood, there would not be enough product coming from US waters to support businesses. Businesses would close.”

 

WATCH: Long-time Seafood Plant Employee Talks Jobs in NH

High Liner Foods, Portsmouth, NH: “If we weren’t able to import fish from other countries, I think we’d have a hard time surviving here.”

 

WATCH: 30-Year NH Fish Plant Employee Talks Seafood Sourcing

WASHINGTON, DC

District FishWife, Washington, DC: “Without imports, I’m missing out on a huge portion of my sales and my business.”

 

WATCH: The District FishWife Finds Fish from All Over

Old Ebbitt Grill, Washington, DC: “The significance and the importance of having a global source, I can’t stress how important that is to us.”

 

WATCH: Iconic DC Restaurant Relies on Global Seafood

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