China’s newly imposed tariffs and those threatened are of pressing concern to the Illinois agriculture economy. China’s move comes in response to the Trump administration’s call for new tariffs on Chinese aluminum and steel.
Tamara Nelson is Senior Director of Commodities with the Illinois Farm Bureau. She says America has a competitive advantage in growing the world’s food crops and China is squeezing there to stimulate negotiations. “We feel like China and other countries are going to specifically target products like agriculture; products like soybeans where they know they can buy some from Brazil and Argentina. They will use that as a way to get American citizens and farmers and others to call their congressmen and call the White House and try and get the position changed.”
Nelson says Illinois would take a big hit if the threatened tariffs come to pass because of the state’s reliance on soybean, corn, pork, and beef. But she says there’s still a chance those 25-percent tariffs will not be implemented.
“We’ve got a lot of time now between today and May 15th to work with the Trump administration and with our colleagues in China and with our colleagues in agriculture to try to finesse a little bit what’s going between the US and China, to maybe soften down the trade war to just a discussion and maybe get some of those tariffs reduced or relieved.”
May 15th is the date set for a public hearing on the proposed tariffs.