June 3, 2019
US farmers to lose more than Chinese farmers in trade war, China official says
The ongoing US-China trade war will only harm US farmers more than it does to their Chinese counterparts - with the possibility that "bilateral agricultural product trade" between both nations, "including soybean trade, will never go back to normal," a top Chinese official warned.
Han Jun, China's vice-minister of agriculture and rural affairs, also said that Chinese farmers are resilient in face of US tariffs, while US farmers cannot afford to lose China as a market, the South China Morning Post reported.
According to Han, China's latest round of retaliatory tariffs now cover most US agricultural product exports to the country. Even with the two rounds of aid provided by the US government, US farmers would not be able to recoup losses due to the loss of the Chinese market, he further pointed out.
"If the US loses China's market, it will be very difficult for the US to regain it," Han - who is also a top policymaker as deputy head of the Office of the Central Leading Group for Rural Affairs - told Xinhua news agency.
He also noted that Chinese agricultural product exports to the US would slump further following the US' raising of tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese products, from 10% to 25%. The country could instead export to other regions, including Southeast Asia, Japan and Europe.
In addition, while China's soybean imports from the US had dropped, it could diversify its sources such as getting local farmers to cultivate more soybean crops or acquiring from other countries, Han said.
In 2017, China brought in a total of 95 million tonnes of soybeans - or nearly 90% of its domestic demand. The country imported 32.8 million tonnes of soybeans from the US that year, or about a third of total imports.
Last year, China's soybean imports slid 7.9% to 88 million tonnes, while imports from the US nearly halved to 16.6 million tonnes. Soybean imports from Brazil, meanwhile, surged 30% to 66 million tonnes last year - or three-quarters of China's total imports, according to Chinese customs data.
- South China Morning Post