The American Farm Bureau Federation is urging U.S. trade negotiators to reach an agreement with China following the nation’s halt of U.S. agricultural purchases. AFBF Executive Vice President Dale Moore says the announcement is a blow to farmers.
“Their announcement that they are going to basically stop importing all U.S. farm products, to quote our president, Zippy Duvall, it is a body blow. And I don’t know any other way to describe it. It is a punch in the gut that is just taking away one of the most important and largest markets that we’ve spent decades developing.”
From 2017 to 2018, U.S. agricultural exports to China fell more than 50 percent, dropping to $9.1 billion. Now, Moore says farmers who are already struggling may lose a market the industry spent decades building.
“We did $9 billion worth of sales last year, and if that goes away, we’ve gone from a $20 billion market, and now it’s back down in to where we were almost 20 years ago. So, that kind of a hit all across the agricultural spectrum has got the markets just reeling from what this is going to mean.”
Moore says farmers need a quick resolution.
“Our farmers and ranchers tell us they appreciate that the President is in the fight to try and get China straightened out, they appreciate that he has provided some trade mitigation tools, but what we really need are these trade agreements like the USMCA, the Japan agreement, those kinds of things send a positive message, give some certainty as to what’s going on in trade. But this China situation has gone on far too long and we need to get it resolved.”