The uncertainty surrounding trade disputes is causing increasing concern in farm country. Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture talks about recently imposed tariffs and and how the Iowa Department of Agriculture is helping farmers during this volatile time.
The United States implemented an additional $34 billion worth of duties on Chinese goods. China retaliated, matching dollar-for-dollar in tariffs. Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig says President Trump’s decision to move forward with these duties adds “unnecessary uncertainty to an already uncertain year.”
“A lot of folks (are) looking at challenging weather conditions. Layered on top of this uncertainty in the questions we have around the future of NAFTA – two very important markets for Iowa – and renewable fuels, and some of the things we see coming out of Washington,” Naig said. It adds to this uncertainty, all on the backdrop of (an) already challenging Ag economy.”
CoBank, a national cooperative bank, speaks to the uncertainty stemming from global trade. The Knowledge Exchange Division of CoBank says 70-percent of United States agricultural exports are headed to countries involved in negotiations or outright trade disputes. CoBanks’ Rural Economic Review finds the shift from trade war rhetoric to reality tempers a lot of first quarter optimism.
Additionally, the United States faces “historical shake ups” in supply chain commitments, as Canada, China, Mexico, and other key trading partners, keep their eyes open for new trade relationships.
Secretary Naig says “we need progress soon.” He pledges to further encourage the Trump Administration to reach a quick resolution.
“It’s been said many times, ‘farmers are patriotic folks.’ It’s true. I think if you work the land, you have a unique connection to this country. Our farmers are patriots, but we need to see some action because our farmers produce and we have a responsibility, as government and businesses, to make sure those markets exist around the world,” Naig said. “That’s the message, ‘Bring certainty now.’”