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Today, Rep. Ron Kind sent a letter to Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue demanding more information after both the Secretary and the President floated additional trade aid for farmers—something Perdue told farmers “not to anticipate” in 2020—since the agriculture purchases promised in the China deal have not yet materialized. The President added that the trade aid would be paid for by tariffs the Administration has slapped on imported goods—a tax working families in America end up paying, not China.
Since the purchases that were agreed to as part of the China phase one trade deal have not happened, Rep. Kind is pushing for a clear plan from the Department of Agriculture on how they will enforce China’s commitments and ensure farmers “see the proof” of these purchases as promised.
“Farmers in Wisconsin have been forced to bear the burden of this Administration’s trade war for nearly two years. This deal was supposed to bring them some much-needed relief but instead, Secretary Perdue and the President continue to create more uncertainty,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “Since this deal was announced, I have expressed my concerns that this deal was not fully binding like a traditional trade agreement and would lack the transparency and enforceability needed to ensure China upheld their end of the deal—and that is proving to be true. Secretary Perdue promised farmers that the USDA would play a key role in enforcing China’s commitments, now it’s time for him to clearly lay out how he intends to do that.”
This isn’t the first-time agriculture purchases from China have failed to come to fruition as promised by the Administration. In June 2019, the President claimed that China would be making large purchases of agricultural products. A month later, the President’s top economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, stated that the Administration expects that China would soon be announcing “some large-scale purchases” but offered no further details. Rep. Kind pushed for more information from the Administration and the plan for these purchases—the purchases never happened.
Since this trade war began:
- Wisconsin’s agricultural exports to China have dropped. In the first four months of 2019 exports fell by 25%.
- Wisconsin businesses, farmers, and manufacturers have paid $340 million due to retaliatory tariffs.
- Wisconsinites have paid $894 million in tariffs.
- Wisconsin’s farming and manufacturing communities have continued to struggle. In 2019, Wisconsin saw the largest manufacturing job decline since the recession, while Wisconsin dairy farms declined by 10% in 2019, breaking the record of farms lost set in 2018.
Read the letter here.