North Dakota politicos respond to threat of Chinese tariffs on ag exports

WASHINGTON, D.C. - North Dakota politicians issued strong reactions Wednesday, April 4, to reports that China has proposed 25 percent tariffs on U.S. exports, including soybeans, corn, sorghum, wheat and beef.
Rows of corn and soybeans next to each other in a sunlit field on a summer day

WASHINGTON, D.C. – North Dakota politicians issued strong reactions Wednesday, April 4, to reports that China has proposed 25 percent tariffs on U.S. exports, including soybeans, corn, sorghum, wheat and beef.

“Exports are a central piece of the ag economy, which is why we’re concerned by potential Chinese retaliation and proposed increased duties on U.S. products, especially agriculture commodities including soybeans, corn, wheat and beef. We’ve repeatedly stressed to the Administration that any changes to our trade policy need to result in better deals for the U.S. and prevent retaliatory measures that harm North Dakota industries, particularly agriculture. While negotiations on both U.S. and Chinese tariffs go forward in the coming months, we’ll continue pressing the Administration to find productive ways to improve trade relations with China and prevent these proposed tariffs from being enacted.”

–Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.

“These actions are a direct result of the administration’s proposed tariffs on China, bringing us closer to a trade war that American producers cannot afford. There’s no question that China has cheated its trade commitments with the United States, impacting American jobs and our economy. A better way of responding would be to look at trade enforcement to rein in China’s actions and create a level playing field for American farmers, ranchers, and manufacturers. Right now, agricultural producers face a great deal of uncertainty from these potential tariffs, the administration’s tariffs on steel and aluminum, and NAFTA renegotiations. For rural America to thrive, the government needs to support policies that will help it grow – but the administration’s trade policies would instead put a stake in the heart of agricultural communities.”

–Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.

"In speaking to North Dakota producers, I’ve heard it said that 'if you’re for less trade, you’re for fewer farmers.' The administration must take steps to de-escalate the situation and restore relationships with our trading partners that in many cases took decades to build. Trade wars are not 'easy,' and there have rarely been winners when large countries lock each other out of key markets. North Dakota producers do not deserve to be placed in harm’s way. I urge the administration to rethink its unwise actions on trade before irreparable damage is done."

–North Dakota Democratic-NPL congressional candidate Mac Schneider

“The President is right to stand up to China. No President before him ever has; consequently, they have been allowed to violate all of the rules of free trade, harming our economy and resulting in the gross trade imbalance we have today. That said, I would like to see the President take a more measured approach as the impulse of position has created unnecessary turmoil for our markets. I have been in contact with the White House, and I am confident they are looking for ways to lessen the serious, yet hopefully short term, negative effects, experienced by our agricultural producers.”

–Rep. Kevin Cramer, D-N.D.

“Trade supports tens of thousands of jobs in North Dakota and provides access to foreign markets that are vitally important to our economy, especially during periods of low commodity prices like this,” Burgum said. “These proposed tariffs are particularly concerning for North Dakotans considering China is our fourth-largest export market and a major buyer of our agricultural products, including our No. 1 export market for soybeans. Disrupting that trade relationship puts our farmers at a disadvantage, and we urge the administration to negotiate a deal that benefits U.S. producers and blocks these proposed retaliatory tariffs from taking effect.”

–Republican Gov. Doug Burgum