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AFB Says Deal to End China Tariffs Not in the Bag Yet

An American Farm Bureau official says the U.S. and China want to reduce or drop Trump-era tariffs on a range of goods, possibly including farm goods, but a deal is not in the bag, yet. AFB Senior Director of Congressional Relations Dave Salmonsen says both sides have signaled an interest in reducing the tariffs, but there’s still a big question that must be answered, first.

“Will then, of course, the question, will the Chinese reciprocate and then reduce or eliminate some of the tariffs that they put on in retaliation for when the U.S. put tariffs on all those imports back in 2018?”

As for agriculture? Salmonsen; “These Chinese retaliatory tariffs affected agriculture, of course, we all saw the big downturn in sales to China in 2018 and 2019. They since have granted waivers, and so our exports to China came back. But the tariff regime still exists, meaning they could put tariffs back on U.S. products anytime.”

And while the Phase I China deal helped, China did not grant waivers to some ag products like ethanol and distiller dried grains. On balance though, Salmonsen says things have improved.

“And of course, now our exports have rebounded. Last year, we exported over $35 billion in ag products to China, so it still hangs out there. Trade is happening, but we’re all in favor of trying to get out from under this tariff regime.”

President Biden sees that as a way to reduce inflation and his administration will consider public input from those hurt or helped by the tariffs and make a decision in the coming weeks. The US tariffs on everything from steel and diapers to furniture and solar panels will start to expire in July.

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