American soybean farmers on Tuesday urged President Donald Trump not to push through with his tariff threat and quickly bring an end to the trade dispute with China.
Davie Stephens, president of the American Soybean Association (ASA), said in a statement that American soy farmers have found themselves in the crosshairs of Chinese countermeasures, and prolonging the battle will be even more damaging.
Trump on Sunday tweeted that he would hike tariffs on Chinese goods worth 200 billion U.S. dollars to 25 percent from 10 percent on Friday.
"Farmers are in a desperate situation. We need a positive resolution of this ongoing tariff dispute, not further escalation of tensions," the ASA statement said.
Screenshot from the American Soybean Association website. /VCG Photo
China is a key market for U.S. soybean exports, but last year sales plunged by about 75 percent year-on-year to just over three billion U.S. dollars.
Stephens said prices are already depressed, so "we need the China market reopened to U.S. soybean exports within weeks, not months or longer [...] before the 2019 harvest begins in September."
"The financial and emotional toll on U.S. soybean farmers cannot be ignored," he added.
The chemical industry is facing similar difficulties and also urged the White House to work fast.
"The risks of continuing to use tariffs as a negotiating tactic with China are simply too high – and any potential benefits still unclear," American Chemistry Council President Cal Dooley said in a statement on Monday.
"China supplies the United States with several chemicals which are not available anywhere else and which are critical inputs to U.S. manufacturing," he said.
Dooley noted that China is the third largest U.S. export market. He said that future growth for the chemical industry depends on a strong trading relationship with China and a trade policy that creates certainty and predictability for investors.