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United States : Heitkamp Meets with ND Soybean Growers, Discusses Growing Threat of Trade War

Jul 12, 2018 (Euclid Infotech Ltd via COMTEX) --

U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp met with members of the North Dakota Soybean Growers Association to discuss the trade wars impact on North Dakota farmers, as well as progress on the Farm Bill and other efforts to boost the states agriculture industry.

The meeting comes as the administration is escalating its trade war with China. Soybean prices today hit a 10-year low on the news that the administration is planning to impose tariffs on $200 billion of additional Chinese goods, likely sparking retaliatory measures against U.S. goods and putting this years soybean crop at risk as China cancels orders. North Dakota farmers export 71 percent of their soybeans to Asia, primarily to China.

Soybeans are a bright spot for North Dakota farmers, but the value of their crop this year and beyond is at risk because of an unnecessary trade war with their largest customer, Heitkamp said. Soybean farmers dont deserve to be collateral damage in this misguided trade war, and I have yet to hear from the administration how it plans to support farmers whose livelihoods are at risk from this damaging policy. Chinas unfair trade practices can and must be addressed through aggressive trade enforcement, but tariffs are the opposite of smart and strategic theyre an unsophisticated weapon that put North Dakota agriculture in the crosshairs. Meeting with soybean farmers today, its clear that we need to put an end to this trade war fast or our rural economy will be put at even greater risk.

North Dakota soybean growers produce some of the best soybeans on earth, but in order to be successful, we need access to critical markets like China where soybeans are in high demand and North Dakota has a geographical advantage to ship them there, said Joe Ericson, a farmer from Wimbledon, North Dakota and president of the North Dakota Soybean Growers Association. The administrations trade war with China threatens our ability to export, and weve already seen negative impacts in the way of cancelled orders and slumping prices. Our farmers are caught right in the middle, and that isnt fair. We appreciate Senator Heitkamps efforts to resolve this dispute in a way that protects North Dakota farmers.

Yesterday, Heitkamp met with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to express the frustration and concerns shes hearing from North Dakota agricultural producers and other industry leaders about the administration's trade policies.

Last week, the administration imposed tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods as Heitkamp held meetings in Mandan, Minot, Carrington, and Wahpeton to talk about trade and the Farm Bill. China immediately imposed $34 billion in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. soybeans and other agricultural products, targeting nearly all of North Dakotas agricultural exports to the country as well as North Dakotas energy exports.

The trade war threatens over $60 million in North Dakota exports, according to a recent analysis by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which estimates that over 111,000 jobs in North Dakota are supported by trade. Click here to read the Chambers report on North Dakota.

Heitkamp has repeatedly pushed to meet with Lighthizer and other top administration officials to advocate for smart trade policies that protect and open markets for North Dakota producers not a trade war that threatens the states rural economy. At a recent meeting with President Trump at the White House, Heitkamp pushed for an end to the escalation of the trade war that is hurting North Dakotas economy.

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