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Ag Tariffs, USMCA to Challenge Next President

Ag tariffs and trade wars will continue to challenge whoever’s in the White House next year. President Biden and former President Trump both hit China with big tariffs on national security grounds. Biden, most recently with $18 billion on imported steel and aluminum, EVs, computer chips, and solar cells.

Trump’s $300 billion in tariffs invited stiff retaliation by China against U.S. farmers…and American Farm Bureau’s Dave Salmonsen has an eye on China again after the Biden tariffs.

“So, we haven’t seen anything directly as far as an increased tariff on U.S. ag exports,” according to Salmonsen. “That could be when our tariffs go into effect. Could they do that, or something harder to react to, but could be just as harmful in its way for U.S. ag interests? That would then diversify their buying.”

And that would also mean buying less from the U.S. The next president will also face a scheduled review of USMCA that so far has failed to end export barriers for U.S. dairy and GMO corn. Salmonsen says, “Where the U.S., Canada, and Mexico have to get together, see how things are working, see what may need to be changed. Several issues, including agriculture issues, corn with Mexico, dairy with Canada.”

So, is the hard-fought USMCA working? Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) answered the question with a question. Grassley said, “Who’s going to be the next president of the United States? And Congress has control over international trade, and the president can’t do anything we don’t give him authority to do, but he can start to negotiate on his own.”

And there’s the question of the farm bill, where both parties’ versions would boost export promotion programs, but prospects for a new bill ahead of the November election seem dim.

Story courtesy of Matt Kaye/Berns Bureau and NAFB News Service

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