COLUMBIA, Mo. — New reports show that the Administration’s tariffs continues to put agriculture at risk. According to Bloomberg, soybean exports have continued to drop because of the Administration’s trade war with China — putting even more strain on Missouri soybean farmers. Meanwhile, a group that advocates for independent family farmers has expressed concern that the Administration’s new deal with Canada and Mexico favors big agribusinesses and “puts the [individual] farmer in harm’s way.”
The trade war has already cost Missourians hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in economic activity, and the Administration’s newest wave of tariffs puts industries in every single Missouri county at risk. Yet despite the ongoing harm to Missouri’s economy, Josh Hawley has continued to support the Administration’s damaging trade war.
The U.S. trade deficit widened in August to the biggest in six months as soybean exports plunged and a measure of the gap with China hit a record, showing how the Trump administration’s trade war is dragging on economic growth.
…Soybean exports dropped $1 billion, or 28 percent, to $2.58 billion, reversing a run-up earlier this year ahead of retaliatory levies from China.
…The latest figures show how President Donald Trump’s tariffs on goods from China and other nations, which have raised prices and disrupted some businesses, are starting to weigh on an otherwise solid pace of U.S. growth.
…Exports fell to $209.4 billion, spanning declines in other items including crude oil and petroleum products. Imports rose to $262.7 billion, boosted by consumer goods and automobiles.
…Friday’s report showed the unadjusted merchandise-trade gap with China, the world’s second-biggest economy, widened to a record $38.6 billion, from $36.8 billion.
…The Trump administration imposed duties on $34 billion of Chinese goods in early July and another $16 billion in late August. That was followed by levies on $200 billion as of Sept. 24. Beijing has issued retaliatory duties each time, and Trump has threatened to ratchet up U.S. tariffs further.
Farmers and agriculture groups are digging through the details of the new North American trade deal, called the United States Canada Mexico Agreement, and some are raising concerns that clash with the celebratory mood of the three countries’ leaders.
The deal, announced earlier this week, changes provisions for auto manufacturing and intellectual property, but keeps many of the former NAFTA provisions for agriculture.
That’s one of the reasons why Joe Maxwell, executive director of the Organization for Competitive Markets, finds the proposal disappointing. His group advocates for independent family farmers.
He said if Congress approves this deal, only multinational agribusinesses like Cargill or JBS will be able to lodge trade complaints, such as accusing one of the countries of unfairly subsidizing its farmers.
“Continuing to give private corporations the ability to bring a dispute actually puts the farmer in harm’s way,” he said, adding that he believes agribusinesses will act in their own interests and there isn’t a mechanism for independent farmers to advocate for themselves. Maxwell says the deal would also undercut bipartisan congressional efforts to put a moratorium on large agribusiness mergers and leave too much authority in the hands of the World Trade Organization.