China-US trade dispute burdens heavily on American farmers
UNTV News • August 29, 2019 • 365
Farmers around the United States said they are deeply concerned over President Donald Trump’s plan to impose additional tariffs on a list of 300 billion dollars’ worth of Chinese imports.
They expressed their concern also at the three-day largest-outdoor Farm Progress Show which started in the state of Illinois on Tuesday; not even Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s emergency aid funding could soothe them.
“Farmers are at the point of the spear. They are more productive. They have an export surplus and the President understands that. That is why he has authorized us to use the CCC (cash conversion cycle) dollars to help fill in the gaps until we can get China to come to the table to resolve the trade issues that have been there for years,” said Perdue.
For farmers, there appeared to be frustrated with the apparent lack of progress in lessening their burden as retaliatory tariffs from both sides are on the way.
“As you saw over the weekend with the five percent increase in tariffs on soybeans, that doesn’t move our pile, that doesn’t get our deal done. And to hear the secretary say that there is not really any real news coming out, was a little disappointing,” said Bill Gordon, vice president of the American Soybean Association.
The Farm Progress Show of new farming technologies is taking place in Illinois, the largest producer of soybeans in all the U.S. and the trade dispute has already had a dramatical impact on Illinois’ exports to China.
Total American agricultural exports to China dropped from 24 billion dollars in 2014 to 9.1 billion dollars last year, according to the American Farm Bureau. A further fall appears likely with exports down 1.3 billion dollars during the first half of 2019.
Adam Nielsen is the Illinois Farm Bureau’s Director of National Legislation and Policy Development. He has this message for the U.S. farmers: “You are going to have to make long term plans based on the fact that you have lost this enormous market. And that’s not a happy thought right now.”
China called for solidarity on Thursday (February 20) in a special meeting to discuss the coronavirus with Southeast Asian nations as it faces criticism for its handling of the outbreak elsewhere.
The hastily-called summit in Laos signaled China is seeking support from smaller neighbors into which it has poured billions of dollars in infrastructure and investment in recent years.
Wang urged Singapore to ease its travel ban on Chinese visitors, with other nations likely to face similar pressure at the meeting with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Even as the meeting kicked off, Thailand on Thursday issued a travel advisory urging citizens to avoid non-essential travel to China and advised those already there to leave, hinting that flights to China could be further restricted
Beijing has been criticized for its handling of the outbreak of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, which emerged from the city of Wuhan in Hubei province in recent months and killed at least 2,000.
Travel restrictions to prevent the spread of the disease have idled much of the world’s second-largest economy and choked key elements of President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of railways, ports, and highways.
Mainland China reported on Thursday (February 20) the lowest number of confirmed cases of a new coronavirus since late January, partly because of a change in diagnostic criteria for patients in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak.
China had 394 new confirmed cases on Wednesday (February 19), the National Health Commission (NHC) said, sharply down from 1,749 cases a day earlier and the lowest since Jan. 23.
That brings the total accumulated number of confirmed cases in mainland China to 74,576.
How cases are diagnosed and confirmed has had a big impact on official tallies of cases, and changes in the method have raised questions about the extent to which daily tallies accurately reflect the state of the outbreak.
The new coronavirus emerged in the city of Wuhan, the capital of the central province of Hubei, in December, having apparently been passed to people from wildlife sold illegally in a market.
China’s supply of poultry and egg products is likely to be hit in the second and third quarters as the coronavirus outbreak has had a severe impact on the industry, agriculture ministry official Yang Zhenhai told a State Council briefing on Tuesday (February 18).
The world’s second-largest poultry producer, China had been ramping up output to fill a meat shortage after the African swine fever epidemic, which began in 2018, decimated its pig herd.
Poultry prices have plunged this year and restrictions on moving livestock and extended holidays in many areas have paralyzed the supply chain. Farmers have been left with large inventories of birds and eggs even as demand plunged as restaurants and canteens stay shut.
Yang said that since the coronavirus outbreak, which has led to more than 1,800 deaths, live poultry markets have been closed, transportation of baby poultry and live poultry has been curtailed and slaughterhouses have been shut down. (Reuters)
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