US farmers, industry urge Trump to resolve China trade dispute quickly

9 May, 2019 12:00 AM printer

WASHINGTON: US soy farmers and industry on Tuesday urged President Donald Trump to pull back from his tariff threat and quickly bring an end to the trade dispute with China.

That message was reinforced by financial markets, as US stocks fell by more than two percent for the first time in months amid concerns the renewed trade tensions could scuttle a deal, reports AFP.

Trump has vowed to more than double the tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods starting Friday, after US negotiators accused Beijing of reneging on commitments made during months of talks that aim to reduce the US trade deficit, clamp down on theft of US technology and reduce China’s massive subsidies.

American soy farmers have found themselves in the crosshairs of Chinese retaliation, and prolonging the battle will be even more damaging, Davie Stephens president of the American Soybean Association (ASA), said in a statement.

Stephens, a grower from Clinton, Kentucky, said “farmers are in a desperate situation. We need a positive resolution of this ongoing tariff dispute, not further escalation of tensions.”

China is a key market for US soy bean exports, but last year sales plunged by about 75 percent compared to 2017 to just over $3 billion, after China retaliated against US farmers with 25 percent tariffs.