Farmers Seek Tariff Relief Through China Trade Talks

Talks between the U.S. and China regarding trade this week in Washington, D.C. bring a renewed hope of progress. The American Farm Bureau Federation says farmers and ranchers need a resolution that removes tariffs on U.S. ag products. Dave Salmonsen, AFBF Senior Congressional Relations Director, says the talks are encouraging.

“We’re at point where tariffs have continually escalated since basically spring of 2018 and I think both sides want to see if they can find a way out of this, Salmonsen said. “So, we’re encouraged that this is going on. We hope they work hard to a conclusion.”

Negotiators are mulling over a large list of issues including forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection and cyber security, along with ag trade. Salmonsen says the escalating tariffs prompted China to reduce the amount of agriculture products purchased from the United States.

“A couple years ago we were selling over $20 billion of U.S. ag products to China, and this year we’re expected to sell about $7 billion. That’s no slackening demand in China, they’re buying more around the world, but they’re buying less from us because of the tariffs,” said Salmonsen. “China really does not want to talk bigger issues. They want to focus on tariffs. So, that’s why I guess the two countries haven’t quite come to an agreement yet. They have different expectations of these talks.”

Salmonsen says U.S. agriculture needs momentum in the talks that lead to the removal of tariffs on ag products.

“We really do want them, both sides, to get to work, hammer out some kind of an agreement, get to the point we can start unwinding these tariffs that have put such burdens on our exports to China, and burdens on their exports to the U.S,” Salmonsen concluded.