U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today issued the following statement on China’s proposed tariffs on U.S. products, including corn, soybeans and beef products:
“While I support the administration’s desire to negotiate better trade deals, I’ve continuously expressed my concern about retaliation from other countries. The new tariffs China is proposing on soybeans and other U.S. goods is a prime example. With planting season about to start and the farm economy still lagging, South Dakota farmers are rightly concerned about this announcement. As trade negotiations continue between the U.S. and China, I will continue to look at all avenues to prevent these proposed tariffs from becoming a reality.
“I understand there is some time before these tariffs are imposed to allow for negotiations; however China’s tariff proposal is already having a real market effect. As the administration continues to negotiate trade, I encourage them to take both short and long-term implications into consideration. The best way to strengthen our negotiating position with China is to re-engage with trading partners in that region, specifically those in the TPP. This will give us a tremendous advantage as we seek the best deal for South Dakota producers.
“Free and fair trade drives down prices for American consumers and creates jobs here at home. We need more trade deals with our allies to both expand our opportunities and lessen our dependence on China for trade. Over the past year, we’ve been able to substantially grow our economy through tax relief and reg reduction. As we continue to build on that success, we must open up new markets to U.S. products without hurting existing trade partnerships. Actions impacting our existing trade partnerships will negatively impact our economic growth.”
Yesterday, China introduced a proposal to impose an additional 25 percent tariff on more than 100 U.S. goods, including soybeans, wheat, corn, beef and automobiles. China is currently the world’s largest importer of soybeans, with roughly one-third of their soybean imports coming from U.S. farmers. China accounts for 25 percent of all U.S. soybean sales and 60 percent of all soybean exports.
In February, Rounds joined 25 of his colleagues in a letter to President Trump urging him to re-engage in Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. In a recent weekly column, Rounds wrote:
“Increased economic engagement with the eleven countries currently in the TPP has the potential to substantially improve the competitiveness of U.S. businesses, including farms and ranches. It would also support millions of U.S. jobs, boost U.S. exports, increase wages and benefit consumers. Increasing access to a region and market that has a population of nearly 500 million—and is continuing to grow—is a smart move for our country. Additionally, U.S. participation in TPP could counter the influence of China in the Pacific Rim region.”