Carper, Coons, Blunt Rochester raise concern about Trump Administration’s tariffs harming Delaware’s farmers

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Wilmington, July 12, 2018 | Kyle Morse (202-695-0494) | comments

WILMINGTON, DE – U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (all D-DE) sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue expressing concern about how the Trump Administration’s trade actions against China are harming Delaware soybean growers.

“We urge Secretary Perdue to ensure that the Administration takes actions to mitigate the effects of the tariffs on farmers and resolve its trade dispute with China,” the delegation said. “We also thank Secretary Perdue for his attention to this important matter and for his understanding of the importance of exports to a healthy agricultural industry.”

The full letter is below.

The Honorable Sonny Perdue

Secretary

U.S. Department of Agriculture

1400 Independence Ave., S.W.

Washington, DC 20250

Dear Secretary Perdue:

We write to express our concern regarding the Administration’s recent trade actions against China, which have resulted in a retaliatory 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans.  Combined with the Administration’s announcement on July 10 that it will impose tariffs on an additional $200 billion in Chinese goods, these actions could severely negatively affect U.S. agricultural exports to China and have serious implications for the livelihoods of soybean farmers in our home state of Delaware and throughout the country.  We understand and share President Trump’s desire to hold China accountable for their longstanding history of unfair trade practices against the United States, but it is also important that we minimize harm to our country’s agricultural industry.

Soybeans are the top U.S. agricultural export and the second-most-planted field crop in the United States, including Delaware.  Delaware farmers harvested over eight million bushels in 2017, a record soybean harvest for our state.  Farmers in our state depend on robust foreign trade to maintain strong prices.  Any disruption to soy markets abroad has a chilling effect on prices for soybeans sold domestically, and soybean prices already dropped to their lowest in nearly a decade at less than $8.50 per bushel earlier this month. 

Additionally, China is the United States’ second-largest agricultural export market, purchasing $14 billion in soybean exports.  We are deeply concerned that the Administration’s trade actions could contribute to longer-term market losses.  Brazil, America’s closest competitor in soybean production, exported $21 billion worth of soybeans to China last year, and would greatly benefit from our loss of access to Chinese markets. 

Recognizing that our farmers do not want to rely on government assistance, we urge you to ensure that the Administration takes actions to mitigate the effects of the tariffs on farmers and resolve its trade dispute with China.   Thank you for your attention to this important matter and for your understanding of the importance of exports to a healthy agricultural industry. 

Sincerely,

United States Senator Tom Carper

United States Senator Chris Coons

United States Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester

 

CC:  U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer

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