Farmers: Collateral damage in Trump’s trade war with China

Last year, after announcing steep tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, President Donald Trump tweeted that “trade wars are good, and easy to win.”

A year later, China is showing Trump that trade wars are not so easy to win, and American farmers should be telling Trump that it’s NOT good to get into a tariff battle with one of the American farmers’ best customer.

Last week, Trump announced he would put tariffs on another $300 billion in Chinese imports, basically taxing everything that China sends our way. Sunday, China announced it will stop buying US farm products if the tariffs go through.

Farmers have seen exports to China be cut nearly in half last year as China responded to Trump’s tariffs with tariffs on American farm commodities. Futures prices have been dropping as well, farm income, already tight, has been getting tighter, and Trump’s billions of dollars in aid to farmers to help them through isn’t going very far.

Farming is a tough business in the best of times. This year hasn’t been exactly great with a late spring and wet growing season. Dealing with the weather is one thing. Dealing with a president intent on beating your best customer in a trade war makes it even tougher.

We hope Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, in Minnesota this week for Farmfest, takes that message back to Washington with him. Farmers don’t want to be collateral damage in Trump’s trade war.

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