Michigan Farmers And The Tariff ‘War’ With China
We have all heard quite a bit of news on both sides of the debate concerning the United States trade spat with China.
Many of us would agree the group that would suffer the most from tariffs are farmers. What do Michigan farmers have to say about the tariffs? Michigan’s currently has a $2.7 billion agricultural industry, thus the effects the tariffs will have on Michigan farmers is very important to all of us who live in Michigan
MLive is reporting that Michigan farmers believe that “nobody wins” in this trade war. The question I have is; is that true?
Jim Byrum, president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association is quoted in the article saying:
The overall situation related to trade is extraordinarily frustrating…We are behind the eight ball in the United States in terms of being able to meet world demand ... We have always claimed we are reliable, consistent and trustworthy, and today we are demonstrating anything but that.
An analysis by the non-partisan Farm Foundation believes that retaliatory tariffs would hurt U.S. agricultural and exports could decline by $1.8 billion, That would definitely hurt our farmers but as the U.S. did in the first round of tariffs the President has stated they would do once again with the new round of tariffs and that is compensate our farmers for their losses. I believe this would be the right thing to do, we must help our farmers stay in business in order to keep our food chain running efficiently.
The senior policy advisory with the Michigan Milk Producers Association, Ken Nobis, told reporters the Chinese tariffs is bad news for Americans when he stated:
It’s a tax on U.S. citizens, it’s a tax on doing business here, it’s a tax on purchasing products in this country
The CEO of the Michigan Pork Producers Association, Mary Kelpinski, believes that retaliatory tariffs will hurt the ability for American farmers to expand their market into China, which happens to be the world’s biggest pork market. She was quoted in the article stating:
China eats a lot of pork and they’re going to have to fill their market somewhere. They’re going to look to other countries instead of the United States if they have to pay more
Most politicians on all sides do agree that China has been taking advantage of the United States for decades when it comes to opening up their markets. They do impose large tariffs on our products, they force foreign companies to share their technology with them in return for access to the country's vast market and in many cases outright steal technology from our companies.
The question then becomes when do we stand up to China, is now the right time?
If not now, when?
Well no President before President Trump has stood up to China and their taking advantage of us and stealing our technology. President Trump is simply attempting to bring parity to the situation. If China wants to charge our companies and farmers a tariff he wants to put those same tariffs on their products, sounds fair to me. If China charges a 25% tariff on our products then we should charge them a 25% tariff, if China wants to charge no tariffs then we would charge no tariffs. Along with that we must demand that China stop their demands of technology transfer and theft of technology or they must pay a price.
Do we want and need China’s markets, yes. Does China want and need our markets, yes.
The problem with Americans is many of us do not like the short term pain for the long term gain. Even if some Americans could handle that short term pain politicians cannot. They want to get re-elected to their seats of power and asking for American’s to accept some short term pain does not get them re-elected.
Chinese politicians do not have that problem because they are a communist country, what some call a command and control government. The Chinese do have long term plans in place and will accept some pain in order to achieve them, they do not necessarily care about the individual they care more about their government and their agenda.
So the question I have is do you believe we should accept some short term pain for long term gain?
Many of the products we buy from China could be bought from other countries, will this be a zero sum gain, no. Although it will alleviate some of the pain.
Or how about we start buying more American made products.