As you know, this week has been filled with news regarding the proposed tariffs from both the U.S. and China. We assure you that prior to these announcements, state and national soybean associations were already working hard to educate influencers and lawmakers in D.C. about the potential effects on the agricultural industry. This week, your NCSPA President, John Fleming, and the NCSPA office have worked with local media to make sure that facts and the potential impact of tariffs are shared with the media and public. Our commodity partners and ag organizations such as the NC Farm Bureau and NCDA&CS have also diligently worked on this major issue. Checkoff dollars have been utilized for many years to develop our markets and our relationships with Chinese buyers. The soybean industry is hopeful that negotiations will move forward and that agriculture will not be caught in the cross-hairs of a trade retaliation for a crop that meant nearly $14 billion in sales last year. In the meantime, we will continue to share whatever information we can and ensure that the potential effects on N.C. farmers are conveyed.
NCSPA President, John Fleming, talked with WNCT news station yesterday about the potential effects that China’s proposed tariffs will bring to North Carolina growers. U.S. soybeans largest customer has proposed a 25% tariff. China currently purchases 61% of all U.S. soybean exports and more than 30% of overall U.S. soybean production. Fleming commented on the proposed tariffs saying that “At the end of the day, China needs our soybeans to feed its people. They have a billion people they have to feed. They need our soybeans, so they have motive to resolve this thing as well as we do.” You can see the entirety of the interview below.
American Soybean Association President and Iowa farmer John Heisdorffer issued a statement yesterday commenting “It should surprise no one that China immediately retaliated against our most important exports, including soybeans. We have been warning the administration and members of Congress that this would happen since the prospect for tariffs was raised. That unfortunately doesn’t lend any comfort to the hundreds of thousands of soybean farmers who will be affected by these tariffs. This is no longer a hypothetical, and a 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans into China will have a devastating effect on every soybean farmer in America.
“Soybean futures are already down nearly 40 cents a bushel as of this morning. At a projected 2018 crop of 4.3 billion bushels, soybean farmers lost $1.72 billion in value for our crop this morning alone. That’s real money lost for farmers, and it is entirely preventable.
“We regret that the administration has been unable to counter China’s policies on intellectual property and information technology in a way that does not require the use of tariffs. We still have not heard a response from the administration to our March 12 letter requesting to meet with President Trump and discuss how the administration can work with soybean farmers and others in agriculture to find ways to reduce our trade deficit by increasing competitiveness rather than erecting barriers to foreign markets.
“But there is still time to reverse this damage, and the administration can still deliver for farmers by withdrawing the tariffs that caused this retaliation. China has said that its 25 percent tariff will only go into effect based on the course of action the administration takes. We call on President Trump to engage the Chinese in a constructive manner—not a punitive one—and achieve a positive result for soybean farmers.”