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Missouri Groups Issue Joint Statement on China Tariff Threats
Missouri Ag Connection - 04/13/2018

Five Missouri agricultural groups on Thursday issued a joint statement on China's announced trade tariffs that have been made in direct response to trade tariffs announced earlier this month by President Donald Trump.

Blake Hurst, president, Missouri Farm Bureau; Greg Buckman, president, Missouri Cattlemens Association; C. Brooks Hurst, president, Missouri Soybean Association; Francis Forst, president, Missouri Pork Association; and Kyle Kirby, president, Missouri Corn Growers Association; joined together to issue the following:

"Missouri is fortunate to be home to a host of agricultural products that are essential to feeding and clothing people around the world. Recent announcements by the Chinese to levy tariffs on United States agricultural products, including soybeans, pork, cotton, beef, corn, sorghum, and wheat, are cause for serious concern to our industry. Farmers depend on international trade for nearly 20 percent of their overall income. Missouri farmers cannot afford to risk losing critical market share in China to our competitors, especially with net farm income projected to hit a 12-year low this year.

"In 2017 the United States exported nearly $20 billion worth of agricultural goods to China. Soybean exports accounted for $14 billion of that total, and pork contributed $1.1 billion. In addition to importing other U.S. crops, China is the second-largest destination market for cotton at 2.5 million bales. The retaliatory threats from China are severe and broad-reaching across all of Missouri agriculture. As a top-ten producer of many agricultural commodities targeted for retaliation, Missouri is especially vulnerable to the crippling effects these tariffs will bring if implemented.

"China's disregard for the customs of international trade cannot be ignored, but engaging in a trade war with China puts farmers and ranchers at risk. We urge the Trump Administration, United States Trade Representative, and our elected leaders to negotiate a solution that addresses the issue of intellectual property theft while protecting Missouri's number one industry from devastating retaliation."

On Thursday, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, along with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow and about a dozen members of Congress participated in a roundtable discussion hosted by President Trump at the White House. During the roundtable, the farm-state governors urged President Trump to continue to open up new markets for quality agriculture products and to pursue trade strategies that help grow agriculture.

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