U.S. Farmers Caught in Between Tariffs on China and Foreign Retaliatory Tariffs

The U.S. plans to implement more tariffs on China thus continuing the trade war between both countries. In a statement released this week, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says President Trump ordered him to begin the process of imposing an additional ten percent tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. The tariffs will follow the 25 percent tariffs implemented last week on approximately $34 billion worth of Chinese imports and will eventually cover up to $50 billion in Chinese imports.

The latest action from the Trump administration was caused by China’s retaliation of imposing tariffs on $34 billion in U.S. exports to China and threatening tariffs on another $16 billion. Lighthizer claims China counteracted “without any international legal basis or justification.” A Trump administration official told reporters this week the administration would “listen to farmers’ complaints” at a hearing on the tariffs next month, but added that farmers are “aware Trump’s trade initiatives would help them in the long run.”

On the other hand, the European Union is doubling down on American Whiskey to respond against trade tariffs. The EU’s trade chief, Cecilia Malmström, vetoed a request to remove U.S. whiskey from the tariff list due to fearing the move would create further retaliation from the U.S. on Scotch whiskey. In making the statement, Politico reports Malmström intends to hit the U.S. “where it hurts,” which includes agriculture.

The trade official says the list created by the EU was “drafted on the basis of several parameters, including its capacity to induce policy change in the United States.” Malmström says its “well known” that the U.S. agriculture sector is one of the “few groups with political clout to bring about change in Washington,” adding “it’s no coincidence” that the EU, Mexico and Canada are targeting U.S. agriculture products in response to the Trump steel and aluminum tariffs.

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