[4/5/18] Central Washington Farmers Brace For Losses In Chinese Market After Latest Tariff Announcement

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Central Washington farmers are bracing for serious losses in the Chinese market after the country announced its intention to impose a 25% tariff on all US wheat in response to tariffs imposed by President Trump on Chinese goods.

More than 12.5 million bushels of the region’s flagship soil white wheat class have been shipped to China during the 2017/18 marketing year, thus far. A flow that is expected to be severely curtailed when the tariff goes into affect.

The Chinese targeted other agricultural commodities as well, including soy beans, corn, cotton and beef. Wheat and corn prices face immediate single digit price declines in reaction to the news. But, soy bean markets saw a 40% bushel price drop. About one third of all soy beans grown in the US are exported to China.

Marci Green, president of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers, said the tariff represents another challenge facing Eastern Washington farmers during a period of low prices and agronomic difficulties.

She says people don’t fully understand how precarious things are in farm country.

Tree fruit growers in the northwest are also worried about the tariff as China imports roughly $200 million worth of Washington State apples, cherries and pears each year.