IFB 'deeply concerned' about Chinese retaliation

The United States increased tariffs to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese products Friday. The Chinese vowed to retaliate.

By Deana Stroisch

Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr. Friday said he was “deeply concerned” about the possibility of retaliatory tariffs from China that could further harm agriculture.

“We are sitting on a huge inventory of grain while our export markets are diminishing,” Guebert said. “Corn and soybean prices are depressed, combined with a delayed 2019 planting season due to heavy rains, and farmers are facing their sixth straight year of declining net farm income. If this trade uncertainty lingers, we will certainly be looking to the Trump administration for another round of market facilitation payments.”

The United States increased tariffs to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese products Friday. The Chinese vowed to retaliate.

President Donald Trump also announced plans to implement even more tariffs -- “25 percent on the remaining $325 billion,” the president tweeted.

“Tariffs will bring in FAR MORE wealth to our country than even a phenomenal deal of the traditional kind,” Trump tweeted. “Also, much easier and quicker to do. Our Farmers will do better, faster, and starving nations can now be helped. Waivers on some products will be granted or go to new source!”

Related: Study finds grain export benefits extend beyond farms. Read more here.

Trump’s tweet came on the second day of negotiations between the two countries in Washington, D.C. on Friday.

IFB Vice President Brian Duncan appeared on Fox Business News segments throughout the day Friday to share how the tariffs affect farmers who are hurting from a downed economy. Agriculture, he said, “has been left behind.”

“What’s next?” Duncan asked from his hog farm in Polo. “We are out of economic runway.”

Asked about the possibility of a second round of trade assistance payments, Duncan said: “I think the reality is that farmers have bills to pay. The economic consequences of this trade war are real, and they are being felt on the farm,” he said. “I think a lot of farmers, although they would rather get their money from the marketplace, will look for something to help pay the bills.”

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