China Suspends All Trade With U.S. Agriculture

Aug. 7, 2019, 5:04 p.m. ·

(Photo by Becca Costello, NET News)

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China’s Ministry of Commerce announced this week it would suspend all purchasing of U.S. agricultural goods. The statement comes in response to President Trump’s decision last week to expand tariffs on Chinese exports.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor Wes Peterson says the freeze represents yet another point of anxiety for producers amid a year of bad weather and ongoing trade conflict.

“Foreign markets are very important to U.S. farmers and Nebraska farmers, so when you have this kind of trade war stuff going on, it can release a huge amount of uncertainty—people don’t know exactly what’s going to happen,” Peterson said.

Many variables can affect a farmer’s bottom line: lower exports could hurt prices, yet sometimes late planting due to weather can boost them because the overall output is less.

Peterson noted "even if the prices are stable or higher or whatever, if you’re selling less, then this could be very disruptive for agriculture.”

President Trump authorized $16 billion in aid this year to help buffer those losses, and hinted this week that a similar plan may be in the works for next year. But some farmers are holding out hope more aid may not be necessary. In a Purdue University survey published Tuesday, 78 percent said they expected the dispute would eventually resolve in their favor.

President Trump says unless negotiations improve, the tariffs will take effect on September 1.