South Dakota Senator and Farmers Respond to Chinese Tariffs

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Chinese officials are releasing a 50-billion dollar list of American goods for possible tariff hikes.

The list of 106 U.S. products includes key components to the U.S. economy, like soybeans.

“They’re a big problem for American agriculture and they’re a big problem for South Dakota agriculture,” said Republican South Dakota Senator John Thune.

Now, China is biting back and farmers could be caught in the cross fire.

China is responding to President Trump’s tariffs with tariffs of its own. For example, soybean farmers say China’s proposed 25-percent tariff on soybeans could make their business fall apart.

Senator Thune says Trump’s jab at Chinese officials is a lose-lose situation. Thune says he’s explained to the Trump administration himself that with these tariffs, South Dakotan farmers face an uphill battle.

“The administration needs to be thinking about the unintended consequences and what are those ripple effects, those domino effects, and what are the retalitory actions likely to be taken,” said Thune.

Thune says it’s been a challenging year for agriculture. Keith Alverson, a South Dakota Corn Growers Association board member, agrees.

“Every time that we’ve seen trade issues come up in the past it’s impacted farming negatively,” said Alverson.

The corn growers say these back-and-forth tariffs leave a big question mark – a lingering uncertainty.

“Ag’s having such a huge impact on the state’s economy,” said Alverson. “The consequences for South Dakota could be pretty severe.”

Thune says Trump is playing with fire. For now, the trade negotiations aren’t on the books yet – and for farmer’s sake – Thune hopes those tariffs never come to fruition.

“This is just a bad idea to get into and escalate a trade war with countries on whom we are very dependent for our ag economy’s livelihood,” said Thune.

China accounts for 60 percent of all soybean exports.

State Senator Neal Tapio said in a statement that he strongly supports President Trump’s tariffs. Tapio alleges that China hasn’t played fair when it comes to trade and urges South Dakota farmers to agree.

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