United States senators had an opportunity on Wednesday to air concerns about current and proposed tariff actions administered by the Department of Commerce. Farm state senators discussed the tariff’s crippling effects on American farmers and ranchers.
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) directed his comments towards U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Grassley talked about the impacts of Section 301 tariffs, designed to protect American technology and intellectual property from discriminatory and burdensome trade practices by China. He notes, “the impact of the proposed tariff is getting very real.”
“We’ve watched the soybean market collapse from an upper nine- to lower eight-dollar range. Yesterday, down 40 cents,” Grassley said. “An example – Losing $1.25 on a national average soybean yield of 49 bushels per acre equates to a farmer losing $61.25 an acre because of these movements. Even if farmers don’t have to sell their physical crop right now, the sudden volatility in the market can increase the cost of hedging and in some cases, require margin calls for those who are long in the market.”
Secretary Ross replied with, “The President has directed the Secretary of Agriculture to use every power at his disposal to help the agricultural parties adversely affected by retaliation.” Ross did not provide suggestions for farm relief, rather left the decision to Secretary Perdue.
“It’s up to the Secretary of Agriculture. Each segment of agriculture is quite a different segment. I think he heard very clearly the comments from the farm state representatives that they don’t want government aid. Well, we have no control over what a country does in retaliation,” Ross said. “But, what the President did announce, to try to discourage retaliation, when the Chinese on the 301 announced they would match the $50 billion of product that we have put tariffs on with their $50 billion, the President said he will put tariffs on $200 billion.”