International Trade

AgTC’s Friedmann: Trump’s China Tariffs Could Hurt US Ag Exporters & Ports

Peter Friedmann, executive director of the Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC), told AJOT that if President Trump imposes tariffs against China for intellectual property violations, “the impact on agricultural and forest product exports could be substantial [and] this will also adversely impact the shipment of exports going out on ships from U.S. ports.”

Friedmann added, pressure “is ramping up on the President to discourage him from going ahead with these tariffs.” The impact could be wide-ranging. “China is the largest consumer of United States exports. In agriculture and forest products, virtually everything the United States produces can be sourced somewhere else in the world. As we’ve seen during periods when our maritime ports have ceased operations, China and our other trading partners are able to quickly pivot to other countries including from Holland, Germany, Poland, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, virtually all of Latin America, and Canada, all of which are all too eager to supply the food, farm and fiber that China usually purchases from us.”

According to press reports, President Trump is planning to impose $60 billion worth of annual tariffs on Chinese products, as a result of Chinese intellectual property violations. The tariffs will focus on 100 products.

The President is expected to announce on Friday what tariffs will be imposed on Chinese goods.

The Administration argues that the targeted products were developed using trade secrets from American companies that China either stole or acquired through mandatory technology transfers from U.S. companies.

These practices are illegal under international law, Friedmann says, but retaliation could make a bad situation worse.

Once the Trump tariffs are imposed, he says, “China could do nothing or could respond massively.”

The United States is a major exporter to China of wheat, soybeans, hay, beef, poultry, cotton, lumber and paper, all of which could become “collateral damage in a trade war with China.”

Right now, Friedmann says, the focus of U.S. exporters is to reach out to all members of Congress and impress on them the importance of President Trump pulling back from the massive imposition of tariffs, before it is too late.

Stas Margaronis
Stas Margaronis


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