Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) on Monday pleaded that the Trump administration end the trade war with China to give “greater market certainty for farmers and ranchers” in his suffering home state, Newsweek reports.
Senator Moran penned a letter to U.S. Agriculture Department Secretary Sonny Perdue, in which he lamented the pains of farmers and ranchers in his state as a result of America’s trade dispute with China, one of the biggest consumers of U.S. agriculture.
“Kansas farmers’ and ranchers’ ability to earn a living depends on selling the food and fiber they group around the world,” Moran wrote. “Without exports, the question becomes: what 48 percent of wheat acres do we no longer plant in Kansas? The income generated by exports keeps Kansas producers in business and sustains our rural communities.”
“Tariffs our country levied against China, and China’s retaliatory tariffs targeted at our farmers and ranchers, threaten to cause long term damage to U.S. agriculture,” he continued. “Kansas farmers and ranchers understand the need to hold China accountable for bad behavior on trade. Yet, net farm income has fallen by 50 percent since 2013 and the trade war has pushed commodity prices down even further.”
“Many farmers and ranchers are on the verge of financial collapse,” he said.
On May 10, President Trump scrapped attempts to negotiate with China by imposing tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese products. And, days later, China retaliated with tariffs on $60 billion of American goods, including agricultural produce.
Trump took to Twitter to further escalate tensions between the two global giants. “Tariffs will make our Country MUCH STRONGER, not weaker,” he tweeted. “Just sit back and watch! In the meantime, China should not renegotiate deals with the U.S. at the last minute. This is not the Obama Administration, or the Administration of Sleepy Joe, who let China get away with ‘murder!’”
And although Trump intends to provide roughly $20 billion to farmers in the form of assistance and subsidies, Moran argued that this approach is far from “sustainable.”
“This inherent unpredictability of ad hoc disaster assistance underlies the strong preference of farmers and ranchers for markets to sell their livestock and crops instead of government payments,” he said.