June 13, 2024


US farmers want to avoid implicating food in US' trade war with China, soybean association says




US farmers have asked policymakers in the United States not to involve food in a trade war with China, the American Soybean Association told Reuters on June 7, amid growing concerns that tensions between the two nations will dent already faltering agriculture trade.


"I have gone to Washington DC, Capitol Hill and I talk to our legislators, our senators and representatives, I always emphasise with them that this is about food ... This is one area that we should keep it separate and keep it clean and not use it as a hammer," said Stan Born, American Soybean Association's Chair of Trade Policy and International Affairs Advocacy, on the sidelines of a US-China agriculture cooperation roundtable held in Shandong, China. "We produce a surplus, China has a deficit, we can help each other."


US President Joe Biden last month imposed steep tariffs on Chinese goods from syringes to batteries, raising concerns that it could further harm already shaky US agriculture exports to China.


Ever since the trade war under the administration of former US President Donald Trump, US has significantly lost its market share in China with shipments of products such as soybeans, sorghum and pork getting hit.


US soybean and grains farmers at the event said they are engaging with Chinese buyers on opportunities to strengthen the trade relationship.


"This market is irreplaceable for us ... there is no market like the China market, so we are here and we want to make sure our customers know that we will be here," said Adam Schindler, US Grains Council's Asia Advisory Team Leader.


"We want you (China) to know you are important to us, we want you to know you are appreciated by the US farmer," he said.


The US is dependent on China for its farm exports but cheaper supplies from Brazil and Argentina has curb its market share.


Macey Mueller, Board Director of the United Sorghum Checkoff Programme, said while China remains important, the producer-funded organisation is continuing its efforts to diversify markets and enable trade.


- Reuters

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